Nurses get recognition at Eastern board of education meeting

Superintendent expects a normal graduation

The May 19 board of education meeting at Eastern Regional High School was the first hybrid session in several months, and one that followed distancing guidelines.

Board members who were in person sat 6 feet apart in the school’s media center, while remote participants proceeded as usual.

Superintendent Robert Cloutier announced during his report that the school currently has about 57 percent of its students learning remotely, 34 percent attending four days a week and 13 percent attending two days a week.

“We’ve kept all the options, and so I think students are choosing what is working for them, and certainly we have less than four weeks of school remaining, but we are welcoming students back,” he said.

Cloutier also said it takes about two days to switch from remote learning to in person, or vice versa; it had previously taken about a week. Although there aren’t many weeks of school left, the superintendent welcomed any student who wanted to return to in person learning.

Cloutier also revealed that graduation will be “pretty normal,” and the only question yet to be  answered concerns the number of people who will be permitted to attend. Though he was optimistic about the governor lifting restrictions, there still needs to be 6 feet of social distancing at school functions, excluding athletics.

In honor of National Nurses Week May 6 through 12, Supervisor of School Nurses and Director of Special Services Dr. Susan Geverd-Roth recognized the district’s two nurses, Cathy D’Ascenzo and Ashley Krimmel, for their hard work over the past 14 months. Though the recognition is typically private, Geverd-Roth and the school board felt it important to recognize the duo publicly for their efforts during the pandemic.

Geverd-Roth recalled the many tasks the nurses took on, including contact tracing, checking in and caring for students and other community members, making quick and difficult decisions, setting up a quarantine room, educating themselves on the ever-changing guidelines from the Camden County Department of Health, updating the COVID reporting system, collecting and analyzing seating charts, keeping track of athletes and managing the influx of students to the nurses’ office in January. D’Ascenzo and Krimmel worked seven days a week for a significant amount of time to keep Eastern school safe and running smoothly.

“They assisted, they worked together, they worked alone, they got answers, they followed through, they took actions and made quick decisions,’’ Geverd-Roth noted. “What more could a district ask for?

“These ladies are the glue that held us together. They were instrumental in keeping the district as safe as possible and kept the district open to the maximum extent.”
Following the nurses’ recognition, Dr. Kristin Borda, director of Academic Programs and Student Performance, gave three presentations, one of which included summer learning opportunities for students. Students have two main options for learning over the summer. One is through Eastern’s enrichment program, an existing plan that allows students to retake classes and  improve grades. The class will be online and the district will use federal funds to subsidize classes in math, English, social studies and science. A survey will go out after Memorial day to gauge interest.

The other summer option is the credit recovery program, which will be expanded to address learning gaps and loss. The goal is to provide students who struggled this year with the opportunity to earn credit and stay on track to graduate. For math, students have the option of taking July classes in person, or online with in person tutoring and academic support available.  Classes in health and physical education, English, social studies and science will also follow that format.

“We’ll have transportation available for that so students can have the flexibility of an online course, but still have the opportunity to work with Eastern teachers to support them in that process,” Borda noted.

She also said officials will work with other districts to “identify students who may need additional support to successfully transition to high school.”

“We normally do this,” Borda added. “Normally we would identify these students in September/October and get them involved in the freshman support programs in October. We’re really hoping to do that in July and August this summer.”

 

In other news:

  • Eastern students who got vaccinated through the Burlington County Vaccine Mega-Site on April 28 received their second dose May 19.
  • Eastern is partnering with the Camden County Department of Health, Cooper Hospital and the Rutgers School of Nursing to provide an opportunity for students 12 and older a chance to receive the Pfizer vaccine in Gym 1 at Eastern on May 25.
  • Lydia Tate was recognized as Scholar of the Month for May 2021.
  • Shannon Martin was recognized as Scholar of the Month for June 2021.
  • The board approved field trips for 2021 that include the Class of 2023’s trip to Six Flags in Jackson.
  • Junior prom has been rescheduled for the first week of June

There will be a special board meeting on May 26 at 6 p.m., but the next regular session will be held June 16. The board clarified there will not be a public hearing on the budget, as that happened earlier in May. To stay up to date on details, visit https://www.eccrsd.us/Page/128