Reopening New Jersey: Linden schools reveal strategy to welcome students back in the fall

LINDEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- Linden Public Schools is already stocking up on PPE and sanitizing supplies for students' return to the classroom this fall.

School begins on Sept. 3 and the district has instituted a deep cleaning, thorough disinfecting, virus fighting, health protecting effort to bring kids back to school safely.

They will return to a hybrid model called A, B and V.

"Where students will attend school twice a week and then they will learn virtually from home three days out of the week, we are also providing our parents with the option to go all virtual," said Linden Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marnie Hazelton.

When students and teachers return, they will be armed with face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes that are all part of a $6,000 stockpile to help keep the district's 6,200 students and the staff protected through December.

As soon as the schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic this past March, Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds Lawrence Miranda said he started ordering extra supplies.

"I jumped right on it," he said. "And it's a good thing I did, because otherwise we wouldn't have had them."

Here is a list of the supplies in the district warehouse or set to be delivered shortly:

- 400 wall-mounted sanitizer dispensing stations to be installed in the schools "in very strategic locations," Miranda said.
- 1,200 one-gallon pump bottles of liquid hand sanitizer. That's enough for one in each classroom in the district, with a large surplus to remain in the warehouse.
- 2,800 containers of Clorox disinfecting wipes for use in classrooms.
- 250 non-contact infrared forehead thermometers to be distributed to schools.
- 600,000 disposable face masks. "That number, assuming one mask per student per day gets us from September 1 to December 31," Miranda said. "I don't know that we'll need that many because I envision a lot of students will bring their own mask, same with staff. So I think the 600,000 is more than enough."
- 4,800 eight-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer to be used in offices throughout the district.
- 25 Minuteman Misting Disinfectant Sprayers with Micro-Chem Plus disinfectant detergent. "There is a wand on it, and custodians will go around and spray on desktops, lockers, doors, you name it," Miranda said. "It dries and you don't have to wipe it, and it sanitizes everything."
- 150 cases of disinfectant and cleaner to be used in spray bottles and mop buckets. "We have dispensing stations in all the custodial closets," Miranda said. "This is disinfectant that we've been using all along, but we actually doubled the order on this so we'd have enough to get us through the school year."

Hazelton and the district have several alternative plans just in case the state or federal government change course on what will or will not be allowed in bringing kids back into school buildings.

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