Mayor W. Reed Gusciora and Interim Superintendent Alfonso Q. Llano toured Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 to view all the safety protocols put in place by Trenton Public Schools (TPS) as it prepares for the return of in-person instruction this spring.

“We eagerly await the time that our children can once again have access to the essential youth programming and mentorship that is only possible from in-person attendance,” said Mayor Gusciora. “TPS clearly made a great deal of progress improving the facilities and what we saw today gives us hope that both students and teachers can safely return to schools in the coming weeks.”

Superintendent Llano discusses new plexiglass desk barriers and air filters | Photo provided by The City of Trenton

“The health and safety of our students and teachers remains our number one priority,” said Superintendent Llano. “We’re confident that the numerous safety investments we displayed today, along with ongoing efforts that have secured more than 1,000 vaccines for TPS staff, will put us in the best possible position to resume in-person instruction and give our students access to many of the critical services they lost during COVID-19.”

TPS has set a return date of April 19, 2021 for staff, with students returning in-person on May 3, 2021. This return date has been set for TPS to evaluate the new COVID-19 procedures in advance of in-person summer programs and the start of the 2021-2022 school year in September.

Several policy and facility changes have been implemented to secure the safety of both students and teachers, many of which were on display during today’s tour. These changes include a hybrid A/B schedule that limits the number of students in the school at any time and thermal monitoring stations placed at all school entrances that will screen students and teachers on their way into each building. Hand washing and sanitizing stations, as well as cleaning supplies, have been placed throughout each building. Student desks have also been fitted with plexiglass shields.

In addition, facility improvements, along with 1,500 air filters, have been added to ensure clean and proper airflow within the facilities. Additional custodial staff have also been hired to ensure schools remain sanitized at every opportunity.

Meanwhile, TPS has expanded vaccine access to all teachers and staff. Overall, TPS has secured 1,000 vaccines, including 700 from the Henry J. Austin Health Center and another 300 that were provided from Walgreen’s partnership with the N.J. Department of Education and TPS.

For an in-depth look at the TPS reopening plan, click here.

For other photos and video from today, click here.

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