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Holmdel Township Schools

Previous Messages

April 2, 2020

Good afternoon, Holmdel Families!

Congratulations to all on the end of our third marking period!  I hope this communication finds you in good health and a positive mindset. 

Over the last few years, I have relished the opportunity to wish you all a wonderful Spring Break. While we need a break more than ever this year, I recognize that for most, this Spring Break will be vastly different from those of the past and I am sure that this is disappointing for many. Rather than dwelling on what may be missing or different, I encourage you to continue to focus on the positives with your children and to seek out the silver lining in each day.      

I am so proud of the way our community has supported one another during this difficult time. The perseverance, patience, empathy, and creativity demonstrated by our students, staff and families throughout this public health emergency has been truly inspirational.

As a thank you to all of our staff members, many of whom have not stopped working since Friday, March 13th, Spring Break will begin at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow.  If you or your children have questions for teachers or counselors, please note that as per our school calendar, tomorrow is an “early dismissal” day. 

Again, thank you for all of your feedback and positive support during this time. Please look for a brief survey about our remote learning program in your inbox tomorrow.  I hope that when we return to remote learning on Monday, April 13th, the worst of the pandemic will be over so we can all begin to plan to see one another again in person. 

Yours in Education, 

Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools   

March 29, 2020

Good afternoon, Holmdel Families!

As we head into our third week of Remote Learning (followed by a very well-deserved Spring Break), I am writing today filled with gratitude for the way our community has responded to what has been an unprecedented disruption to our daily lives. 

In a very short period of time, we have had to develop innovative news ways to ensure that our students are continuing to learn. There has certainly been some trial and error along the way, especially in terms of anticipating the time it takes students to navigate assigned learning tasks and determining if the tasks assigned are those that students can complete independently. One mom wrote this week with a brilliant suggestion on coding varying tasks according to just that and we are looking to develop and roll out such an approach. Thank you to all who have shared similarly innovative ideas with us - keep them coming!  Once again, use the form found here to submit questions or ideas. 

I know that in many instances, all of this has placed a greater burden on you than ever before, and that this is all happening at an already stressful time for many of us.  Had our partnership with families not been as strong as it is, we certainly would not have been able to address the challenges we have faced, so thank you for being our partners. 

We all  miss the personal contact and the strong sense of community that being in school provides. As we continue to expand the tools we are using for remote learning and to develop our staff members’ skills, I believe our students will begin to feel more connected with their teachers and classmates.  

While it is a gloomy day today, I am imagining the intense joy we will all feel when we reopen our doors to our beloved students. That will be a great day for all of us and I look forward to celebrating it with you, our staff and our students.

Yours in Education, 

Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools   

p.s. Please continue to visit our website for information and relevant resources such as the emotional supports found here.

March 26, 2020

Good afternoon, Holmdel Families!

hope this message finds all of our families well. Thank you for continuing to help your child/ren to persevere through these two weeks of remote learning. I recognize the added demands that this has placed on you and I am grateful for the feedback we have received. As our staff members build their remote learning capacities and develop creative new ways to deliver content and to develop our students’ knowledge and skills, I hope you are noticing the evolution in practices that is taking place. Your patience throughout has been deeply appreciated. 

It’s been a couple of days since my last communication. Please know that while I am attempting to lessen the influx of emails into your inbox, it remains vitally important to me that we keep the lines of communication open, especially as family situations change due to illness, technology access or job loss. As I shared early on, we are all going to need a great deal of empathy to work through this period of time. As such, my team is working hard to understand the challenges you are facing and we appreciate how that has been reflected back to us from you. Please continue to reach out to our School Counselors and Principals should you need any kind of learning supports or accommodations.  

Continued Closure due to Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 104

As you will recall, I originally announced that we would close our school buildings for a period of two weeks. However, the Governor’s subsequent order closed all schools and directed schools to “remain closed as long as the order remains in effect.” Since that order has not been lifted, we will remain closed and will continue to utilize remote learning until a time that is determined to be safe to have all staff and students return. 

School Calendar

As you know, Spring Break is scheduled to begin at the end of the school day next Friday, April 3rd. In consultation with the Board of Education and the leadership of the Holmdel Township Education Association, I have decided to continue to follow our calendar, with one exception. We will not utilize our one remaining emergency closing day on April 13th. We will resume school on April 13th and hold onto that last emergency closing day for use at a later time. I will announce a plan for using that day prior to May 1st. 

International SEL Day - March 27, 2020

Tomorrow marks the first-ever international celebration of Social and Emotional Learning and while we had plans to recognize this in-school tomorrow, we have had to alter these plans. Instead, we are taking our plans to social media with a Random Acts of Kindness Challenge to recognize and give thanks to all who are working to keep everyone  healthy and safe as we navigate through the adversity of what is taking place today. 

A special Twitter “handle” has been created for this purpose, @HornetsKindness. We invite everyone in our virtual community to post a “Thank You” video and/or a written message to any organization or group that is  part of the front lines of helping, volunteering and working towards keeping us healthy, safe and protected at this time. It can be you in the video, but feel free to include your family, even your pets who are family too! Simply tag our District’s new Twitter handle, @HornetsKindness in your post and tag the Twitter handle of the group to which you are sending a “shout out” if they have Twitter. Finally, in each tweet, use the following hashtag: #KindnessbyHornets.

Let's all continue to persevere, practice patience, encourage creativity and express empathy.

Be well,

Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools



March 23, 2020

Good evening, Holmdel Families! 

As I walked about a very quiet (and very clean thanks to our Custodial staff) Village School today, I laughed out loud when I came across the image found here. Not only is this an absolutely adorable image of our Village School mascot, but seeing it today helped me to realize that we've been preparing children and young people for learning in a digital world since the earliest days of their formal education. It was the first moment of relief I have felt in a few weeks! I hope the image brings a smile to your face and gives you a moment of peace in what I am sure has been a hectic Monday! 

I just wanted to provide a short note today to draw your attention to a series of resources that I have been gathering to help you and your family with the emotional side of what we are all facing. Please take a moment to visit a new spot on our website where you will find a variety of resources, from a Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus to a resource focused on On-line Learning, Social Isolation and Cyberbullying  and many others. Click here to see the latest list. I will continue to curate this collection and welcome any suggestions you may have for additional resources. 

Please let your children know just how much we miss seeing them and look forward to their return! 

Yours in Education, 

Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D. 

Superintendent of Schools 


March 22, 2020

Good afternoon, Holmdel Families: 

As you may be aware, following the decision I made to close our schools for a period of two weeks, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 104, which ordered that “All public, private, and parochial preschool programs, and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools, to be closed beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020.” The order indicated that schools would “remain closed as long as the Order remains in effect.” As such, we will continue to conduct remote learning for as long as this order is in effect and it is safe to invite our staff and students back into our schools. 

With that said, I have been so impressed by the perseverance, patience and creativity of our school district staff and our students as they quickly adapted to “doing school” in an entirely new manner. Truly, while we are working to flatten one curve, our learning curve in terms of the delivery of content in this new format will continue to climb.  

I have also been amazed by our parents/guardians, who have not only continued to serve as mom’s and dad’s but have also taken on more responsibility as classroom managers while continuing to function as caregivers, providers and breadwinners. As many of our staff members, who with their own families have also had to adjust to this, we are certainly empathetic to these new demands and I appreciate the empathy that you have shown our staff.

Tomorrow we will begin our second week of remote learning. We will continue to work with the department of education and the department of health to do what is in the best interest of our community. As you know, the physical and mental health and wellness of our educational community are a primary concern for me. As we adjust to new directives and as this situation continues to unfold, I will do my best to keep you informed. In the meantime, should you need anything, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher, counselor, administrator, or any member of our district staff. Thank you for your continued partnership. 

Yours in Education, 

Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D. 

Superintendent of Schools 

March 19, 2020

Good evening, Holmdel Families: 

I was thinking about the word “remote” a great deal today as I remotely observed some of the work in which students and teachers have engaged during these first three days of remote learning.  As an adjective, this word has a variety of applications. The one that concerns me the most - perhaps even more than the remote possibility of student learning coming to a halt - is our children and young people not being closely involved with other people - in other words, becoming remote themselves. 

With social distancing as a recommended strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19, I encourage you to find ways for children and young people to maintain social connectivity during this time, and since we are spending more time looking at computer screens, it may be best to find some other ways to foster this than social media. The article here includes six simple tips for managing social distancing for children and young people.  I hope you find it helpful. 

As we head into Friday and the weekend, please continue to connect yourself with your child’s teachers, counselors and all of the professionals who are dedicated to making this period as productive and socially and emotionally healthy for all. Tomorrow looks like it’s going to be a great weather day too - it may be a perfect opportunity to plan an extended remote learning outdoor recess for you and your children!

Again, thank you for the perseverance, creativity and empathy you have demonstrated this week. It matters! 

Warm regards, 

Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

p.s. Check out some nice media coverage of our Pledge of Allegiance Initiative. Submit your video here.

March 18, 2020

Good afternoon, Holmdel Families: 

I hope this second day of Remote Learning finds you and your families well. I am once again very appreciative of the notes of support and the suggestions on how we might further enhance the Remote Learning approach we launched just yesterday. As we settle into these new circumstances, and as our staff members continue to explore the various technologies available for the delivery of instruction, I am confident that we will continue to enhance our practices. This is a process (and one that was initiated somewhat abruptly over the last few weeks). We are all learning and growing, so your continued patience is greatly appreciated. Please continue to submit your questions using the form found here and use the email address, to report any technology issues. 

One thing I know I have missed these last two days is the sound of our students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. As you may know, New Jersey Statute requires that "Each board of education shall require the pupils in each school in the district on every school day to salute the United States flag and recite the pledge."  As we look for ways to maintain routines while also giving families projects to work on together, I thought it would be fun to invite all those interested in helping us to restore this important routine to share a video of students or families reciting the pledge for a daily posting on a Youtube Channel. As such, I invite you to share/upload your rendition of the pledge using the form found here. I am so looking forward to hearing your child/ren or your entire family leading the pledge for our district! 

As this day comes to a close, I wish you continued good health and safety. 

Yours in Education, 

Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D. 

Superintendent of Schools 

March 17, 2020

Dear Families: 

With Day One of Remote Learning behind us, I am writing to share the video message found here!

Have a restful evening, 

Robert A,. McGarry, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

March 16, 2020

Good evening, Holmdel Families:

I am writing this evening to provide some final notes ahead of implementing our district’s Remote Learning Plan tomorrow, March 17th. Please take a moment to read this message in its entirety. As you may have heard, Governor Murphy has ordered all schools closed to students effective March 18th.  Therefore, we will not be able to open our schools for retrieval of student belongings after the close of the day tomorrow as we had planned. If you need something, please arrange to come to our schools between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. tomorrow.  

Please note the following: 

Attendance: Parents should continue to report daily “absences” as per regular school procedures.

Instructional Communication and Delivery: Google Classroom will be the primary means of communication between home and school. Through Google Classroom, teachers will decide the best method to provide lessons and related materials, such as a combination of websites, email, etc. Upon implementation, teachers will post information for parents and students on where and how to access their lessons and content.

Usernames and Passwords: The document found here provides directions on accessing students’ usernames and passwords. 


  • March 17th is a “D” Day for Satz and High School students and an “F” Day for Village and Indian Hill students.  
  • Google Classroom postings will be made by 9AM for that day’s lessons.
  • Staff will conduct instruction and communication responsibilities between 9AM - 1PM. 
  • Scheduled meetings (i.e. IEP) will  take place as scheduled.

Expectations for Parents/Guardians: 

  • Support your child(ren) in their learning process by monitoring Google Classroom and checking in with your child(ren) daily about the continuous learning tasks, activities, and assessments that they are working on. Here is a guide for parents using Google Classroom for the first time. Also, here is a guide for using the Google Classroom App which will help when taking pictures of student work. 
  • Ask your child(ren) about their assignment calendar and supporting them, as needed, in submitting assignments in accordance with the established deadlines.
  • Designate an appropriate place where your child(ren) will work on assigned tasks.
  • Based on your child’s grade level, email teachers and/or reminding your child(ren) to email his/her teachers if they have any questions. 
  • Refrain from publicly scrutinizing your children’s teachers or the lessons they are assigning. All of us are navigating uncharted waters, so please be patient and kind.
  • If your child is ill and will not be able to participate in a learning activity on a given day, please utilize the same method for reporting that “absence” as you would if our school buildings were open. 

Expectations for Students:  

  • Engage in remote learning experiences responsibly and with integrity. The Student Code of Conduct remains in effect. 
  • Check appropriate Google Classrooms and emails for information on courses, assignments, and resources on a daily basis.
  • Dedicate appropriate time to learning, as guided by your teachers.
  • Submit all assignments in accordance with provided timelines and/or due dates.
  • Identify a comfortable and quiet space to study/learn.

 Information for Parents and Students: 

  • If students experience any issues with technology, please send a detailed email to
  • Keep children and teens from gathering in other public places while school is on remote learning to help slow the spread of COVID-19.  
  • Continue to practice and reinforce for children/young people the following ways to prevent the transmission of respiratory infections: Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into your sleeve, not your hands; Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing; Use alcohol‐ based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Please continue to pose your questions here. Our world and all those who share it are in a very fragile state right now. I am asking for your continued patience and understanding as we embark on this journey together. With collective perseverance, patience, empathy and creativity we will get through this.

Yours in Education,


Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools 

March 15, 2020

Dear Holmdel Families: 

As I shared with you Friday evening, all Holmdel Schools will be closed for students and most staff on Monday, March 16th as final preparations are made to implement our Remote Learning Plan on Tuesday, March 17th. As such there will be no remote instruction for students on Monday, March 16th.

Beginning Tuesday, March 17th and on each school day thereafter throughout this closure, teachers will post lessons or directions for students in their Google Classroom by 9 a.m. This means that classes will not meet “live” and students can complete their work and assignments with some flexibility during the day. 

The successful implementation of this plan will require a great deal of collaboration on all of our parts as well as perseverance, patience, empathy and creativity from all of us.  Please know that our staff has been working tirelessly to prepare for this transition. As with any new initiative, there will be some trial and error. 

Below you will find some basic information to assist you in preparing for the transition to Remote Learning. Tomorrow you will receive specific expectations for students and families that we believe will make this process as successful as possible. 

Student Materials 

On Friday, students were directed to bring home all materials and personal belongings in the event of a prolonged closure. For those who were either absent on Friday, or who left something important behind, parents may bring children to school during the hours of 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.  If parents are unavailable during these hours, they may contact their school’s principal to make other arrangements. 

Meals for Students on Free or Reduced Lunch

Boxed lunches in compliance with the National School Lunch Program will be available each “school day” during this period, beginning Tuesday, March 17th. Families with eligible children will receive more information about menus and pick up times and locations in a separate email.  

Devices for Remote Learning

Those who indicated a need for devices via last week’s Tech Survey are asked to pick up those devices on Monday, March 16th from 9:00 a.m. until noon at the Main Office of Satz School. At this time we can only accommodate those who indicated this need via the survey. We are aware that needs may have changed due to home circumstances, and will develop a plan to meet those needs 

Athletics and Extracurricular Activities 

All athletic events and extracurricular activities (including field trips) are canceled through March 27th.

School Counselors, School Nurses, Child Study Team Members and Others

All staff including those named here will be available to respond to emails and will be in contact remotely with you as needed.


Families requiring the pick-up of medication, should send an email to Director of Special Services, Mrs. Meryl Gill, so she may coordinate this with School Nursing staff. 

Questions and Communication

We understand that you will have questions. In order to control the flow of information and to provide responses to you and all those who may have similar questions, we ask that you submit these questions via the form found here. We will post Frequently Asked Questions on our website under the Coronavirus tab. 

Questions specific to individual students’ classes should be directed to the teacher(s) of that class while questions regarding services for students with disabilities should be directed to the student’s case manager. 

Family-teacher and student-teacher communication is important during this time. Parents/Guardians and students are encouraged to email any questions about assignments or progress to their teachers. Administrators will be working on your behalf as well, and are available by email for consultation or advisement as needed. 

None of us can predict how long the district may be closed. As of now, we are committed to Remote Learning through March 27th and plan to resume our regular schedule on March 30th. As government and health officials work on how to respond to this unprecedented situation, we will follow their guidance and will continue to keep you informed. We recognize that a school closure creates challenges for our school community and I thank you sincerely for your flexibility and understanding.

Yours in Education,

Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

March 15, 2020

Good morning, Holmdel Families. 

This will be the first of two messages I intend to send to you this Sunday. While the second message will focus on more of the specifics of our Remote Learning Plan, I am sending this first message in order to share a resource that I asked our Mindfulness Trainer, Alan Brown, to create for our district this week.

These are incredibly challenging times for all of us and strategies for stress reduction and the anxiety that the current pandemic may cause are of critical importance. For many of our students and staff, I believe the work we initiated two years ago related to developing mindful practices will help us to persevere through this together. 

I invite you to take a moment now (or at some future moment when you have 5 minutes to spare), to engage with the video found here. I shared this with our staff on Friday morning and many responded by telling me that Alan’s message and the strategies he shares in the video were helpful to them not only professionally, but personally as well. I hope you will find it to be so for you. 

Again, I will be in touch later today to share more specifics about the launch of our remote learning plan scheduled for this coming Tuesday. Remember, we are using an Emergency Closing Day tomorrow. Thank you for your patience today and always. 

Yours in Education, 

Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D. 

Superintendent of Schools 

March 13, 2020

Dear Holmdel Families: 

After consultation with the Monmouth County Health Department, educational leaders throughout the county as well as the Holmdel Township Board of Education, I have decided to close our school district for a period of at least two weeks (tentatively through March 27th) in order to support our community’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

We have been actively preparing for this possibility for some time. While for children in K-12 it is simply not possible to replace live instruction from a teacher or the interaction among students that takes place in our schools, we have developed a plan that we think will assist us in providing continuous learning and support during this interruption. We will implement this plan next week and will provide you with guidance ahead of time.

This will be a true test of our ability to “Innovate to Elevate,” as none of us have ever experienced anything that comes close to our current reality.  Fortunately, as a Future Ready School District, we have been steadily building our digital expertise through the use of a variety of platforms and will utilize these and others throughout this period. 

In order to complete our preparations, Monday, March 16th will be an Emergency Closing Day for students and most staff. We will also use that day to distribute loaner devices to those who previously requested a device. This will take place on Monday from 9:00 a.m. until noon at the Main Office of Satz School.  

We will begin remote instruction and learning on Tuesday, March 17th. More specific details about our Continuous Learning Plan and the expectations we have for students will be sent in a subsequent message prior to Tuesday.

I believe this is the most prudent course of action to take at this time to protect the health and safety of our children and young people as well as our staff members and the community. Thank you for your understanding during this unprecedented time. I am keeping all of our families in my thoughts and prayers at this time. 

Yours in Education, 

Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools 

March 12, 2020

Dear Holmdel Families: 

Beginning today, the Holmdel Township School District is postponing all events that are open to the public as well as the use of our schools by outside organizations. This decision was made in consultation with Holmdel Township as the health and safety of our students, staff and community remains our highest priority.

Sadly, this includes the opening night of our high school production of Into the Woods. We hope to be able to share a new date soon for this and any other events that may be impacted.

We appreciate your cooperation as we continue to monitor the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in New Jersey. If you have specific concerns about your student, please contact the school nurse in your student’s building. For more information on coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the New Jersey Department of Health website here


Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools 

March 11, 2020

Good evening, Holmdel Families:

While a school closing is not planned at this time, our district committee continues to work toward preparing for an extended closing of schools and the possibility of implementing a remote learning plan.  Thank you to all those who responded to the district’s survey regarding technology readiness this week. We have already planned some training and support as a result of your feedback.  

Our focus now is on finalizing our plans for remote learning, and with that, the next step is to assess our students’ ability to access their online district accounts from home. Therefore, we have asked all teachers to make this task a homework assignment for tomorrow, March 12th.  We expect our youngest students to need the most support with this.  

Fortunately, many of our online programs are easily accessible through the students’ assigned  district Google log-in. For your reference, the document found here is the resource that was shared with our school families at the start of the school year.  To assist students and parents, our students’ usernames (PK-12) and passwords (PK-6) will be available in the Parent Portal beginning tomorrow. 

In order to provide professional development and planning time for teachers, we will have early dismissals (4 Hour Session Days) on Friday, March 13th and Monday, March 16th.  The Primetime Program will remain open for enrolled students on both of these days. Plans for individual after school activities and athletics will be communicated via the daily announcements and/or by coaches and advisors.

Please continue to follow the safe practices and prevention guidelines as outlined by the New Jersey Department of Health and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Do not send students to school if they are sick; those with a fever should remain at home until they are “fever free” for a minimum of 24 hours. 
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep your hands away from your mouth, eyes, nose, and face.
  • Do not share food or drinks.
  • Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience symptoms. 

Thank you for your assistance as we strive to maintain the best possible continuity of education while prioritizing the safety and well-being of our school community.

Stay well -

Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

March 8, 2020

Good morning, Holmdel Families.

I am writing this morning to update you on our efforts to protect the health and wellness of our staff and students as we continue to focus on Coronavirus and receive guidance related to it from a variety of sources.

During this past week, I participated in a conference call with Governor Murphy, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli (Chair of the Governor’s Coronavirus Taskforce) and Commissioner of Education, Dr. Lamont Repollet, and held a productive meeting with our district Physician, Dr. Alan Cabasso and district administrators to discuss our Emergency Procedures, especially as these pertain to the Coronavirus epidemic. These meetings will continue this week and communications such as this one will follow.

What follows below is an update on a variety of related topics and a listing of ways you can help. I appreciate you reading this message in its entirety.

Cleaning of Schools

As noted in recent communications, we continue to be vigilant in the cleaning of our schools. The district has incorporated additional disinfecting measures to help reduce the potential spread of any infectious disease, virus or communicable illness. These are in addition to our usual standard procedures during cold and flu season. It is worth noting that cleaning products used in schools must comply with CDC recommendations for adults and children.

Public Health-related School Closure

As you may have heard in the news, the New Jersey Department of Education published a notice to schools Friday morning with guidance regarding requirements for what they are referring to as "public health-related school closure." The DOE announced that, "Any day on which students impacted by a public health-related school closure have access to home instruction services provided consistent with DOE guidance will count as a day in which the board of education has provided public school facilities toward its compliance with the 180-day requirement." The department further clarified that a “public health-related closure” can only follow from “a written directive by either the NJ Department of Health or the health officer of the jurisdiction.”

In anticipation of this, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Dineen Seeley and Supervisor of Technology Mrs. Caren MacConnell and other members of our team were already in the process of developing plans for virtual learning in the event of such a closure. These plans are still in a developmental process at the district level and will be shared as soon as submitted to the New Jersey Department of Education for approval.  I will be participating in a meeting this coming week with all Superintendents in Monmouth County and county health and education leaders that will provide further clarification of the DOE’s requirements for maintaining compliance with the 180-day requirement.

Field Trips

Among the recommendations that came out of the meeting with our District Physician, Dr. Cabasso, was the decision to suspend field trips to tourist destinations in Manhattan at this time. We will continue to assess each planned field trip based on its destination and make decisions that are in the best interest of students and staff.   

What Can You Do To Help?

I appreciate that may parents have reached out with suggestions and offers to help us – should a public-health related school closure become necessary, there may be ways you can help, and if so, I will certainly let you know. For now, here are some ways you can help us in our efforts:

  • Reinforce and Follow Healthy Habits - Please continue to follow the best advice from health professionals: wash your hands with soap and water frequently for at least 20 seconds each time; tell your child to avoid touching her/his face, especially noses and eyes; encourage and demonstrate for your child how to cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the inside of her/his elbow; remind your child that if they are not feeling well or exhibit flu-like symptoms while in school they should visit the nurse immediately; and of course, keep children home when they are sick.
  • Family Technology Survey - In order to help us plan and prepare for the potential of virtual learning, we will be asking families to participate in a short survey this week related to internet access and home access to devices.
  • Emergency Contact Updates- All parents/guardians must make sure their daytime contact phone numbers are up-to date in PowerSchool, as well as the contact information for your emergency contacts who can pick up your child in an emergency.
  • SchoolMessenger – We will be using SchoolMessenger to contact you with information about school schedules and closings. Please be sure you have updated your contact information and notification preferences. Go to PowerSchool to update your phone, text and email contacts.
  • Social Media – I will continue to communicate directly with you in the weekly manner that I established when I became Superintendent of Schools but if there is something that requires more immediate notification, you will be informed via email at that time. Please do not use Social Media platforms to seek or provide information that others may interpret as “official.” This is never productive, and in this moment and as it relates to this concern, such social media use can be especially problematic.
  • Help Children and Young People Remain Calm – this Friday, a Village School student stopped me in the hallway to ask if I was going to close schools due to the Coronavirus. The concerned look on this child’s face indicated to me the need to be mindful of how children and young people are accessing information and processing this rapidly evolving and “scary” news. As such, please consider reviewing the excellent Parent resource from the National Association of School Psychologists and National Association of School Nurses found here.  

Thank you for all you do to support our efforts. I hope to see you at tomorrow evening's Vaping Presentation for Parents/Guardians of students in grades 6-12 and/or at a performance of Into the Woods later this week! 

Yours in Education, 

Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D. 

Superintendent of Schools 


February 28, 2020

Good morning, Holmdel Families:

I am writing as a follow-up to my message of February 4, 2020 regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19). ​Recent information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that ​more cases of COVID-19 “are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States.” As such, we are monitoring alerts from the CDC about the possibility of the spread of the Coronavirus within the United States and are continuing to follow the latest guidance posted by the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey Department of Health. 

Please note, at this time we have no concerns about this virus in our schools. 

Our district has a policy in place that guides us through these types of circumstances. District Policy 8451 - Control of Communicable Disease outlines clear procedures and steps that we must follow in any infectious disease situation. This policy requires that we comply with all regulations of the New Jersey Department of Health and Monmouth County Board of Health. These offices govern the prevention, control, and reporting of all communicable diseases. While these protocols are in place, we recognize that COVID-19 has the potential to lead to an unprecedented situation that may call for additional collaboration and compliance with directives from local and state agencies.

According to the CDC, ​“While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat.” The CDC suggests that you can take active measures to maintain respiratory health. As a paren/guardian, you can help by taking the following steps: 

  • Help your child to develop the habit of washing her/his hands regularly.
  • Tell your child to avoid touching her/his face, especially noses and eyes.
  • Encourage and demonstrate for your child how to cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the inside of her/his elbow.
  • Remind your child that if they are not feeling well or exhibit flu-like symptoms while in school they should visit the nurse immediately.

Per the CDC recommendations, we are taking active steps to increase the frequency of disinfecting surfaces that are common "touch points" throughout our schools and we are working with our transportation contractors to ensure similar approaches with our buses.

If you or someone in your family doesn’t feel well, please seek out a healthcare provider.  For the latest information, please visit the New Jersey Department of Health website linked above. Thank you for your assistance in this matter. 

Thank you,

Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

February 4, 2020

Dear Holmdel Families:

The New Jersey Department of Health issued updated guidance for schools late yesterday regarding the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). As a school district, we are following the protocols outlined by the Department of Health, which you can find on the department’s comprehensive 2019-nCoV website found here. 

Among the recommendations is for parents to contact their child's school if the child has traveled to mainland China in the past 14 days.

Please take a moment to review the recommendations relative to personal hygiene and also please do not send any child to school unless she or he has been free of fever for at least 24 hours. 

Students, faculty and staff are being asked to follow these steps that prevent the transmission of respiratory infections:   

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into your sleeve, not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.  
  • Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing. Use alcohol‐ based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Stay home from class and work if you’re sick.
  • Avoid people who are sick.
  • Get a flu shot – it’s not too late to be protected.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.

Following and reinforcing these same steps in your home will help us as well. 

I will update you with any other measures we need to take to keep our community healthy during this time. 

Thank you,

Robert A. McGarry, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools