MHS to Reopen - Two-Hour Delay for Students

September 12, 2018

Greetings Montclair Public Schools Parents/Guardians:

Thank you for your support as we worked to ensure the safety of our students and staff before reopening Montclair High School.  I am pleased to report we are cleared to reopen on Thursday, September 13, 2018 with a two-hour delay (see the communication below for the two-hour delay rationale).  Students must report to the first period by 10:00 AM; however, the first bell rings at 9:50 AM.  Staff will report at their normal report time. Per the email shared yesterday (see below), we will reopen using a modified facilities utilization plan for now until the entire building is cleared.  At this moment, I am unable to state how long it will take remediate the building.  However, I commit to updating the Montclair community with a more defined timeline when it becomes available.

In terms of the modified facilities utilization plan, the following summary provides a high level overview:

Main Building

  • The ground floor, the main floor (entrance to building), and second floor (newer side of the building – science wing) have been cleared.  Additionally, all stairs attached to the newer side of the building have been cleared.
  • The second floor (original side of the building), the entire third floor and all four staircases in the original side of building are not cleared.  And, there will be gates prohibiting access to restricted areas.
  • The building remains ADA accessible. The elevator is working.

Annex Building

  • The Annex was cleared, and we will fully use the building.

Please note that all room relocations have been updated in Genesis. A communication will be sent to students’ email to detail any new facilities protocols for tomorrow.  As a professional courtesy, Montclair High School parents/guardians will receive the new facilities protocols sent to students as well.

Here are my ongoing commitments to you:

  1. Focus on Safety – I will continue to make critical decisions that promote the safety of our students and staff.  We will conduct a structural analysis of every school within the district. This work will commence as soon as possible. We will have additional security staff to address newly created high traffic areas.  Safety is always the focus.
  2. Ongoing Communication  - I will provide a timeline for remediating the staircases in the original Montclair High School building, which was constructed in 1914.  Safety is always the focus.
  3. Status of the Repairs  - Our district architect and Director of Buildings and Grounds will provide an update to the Montclair Board of Education on September 17, 2018 at or around 7:45 PM.  If you are interested, you may attend the Board Meeting or watch the Board Meeting live on Channel 33.  The meeting video will be posted to our district website within 72 hours of the meeting. Safety is always the focus.

Thank you in advance for your support. Enjoy your day!

With excellence, equity, social justice and access,

Dr. Kendra Johnson, Superintendent
Montclair Public Schools


From: Kendra Johnson <kjohnson@montclair.k12.nj.us>
Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 4:37 PM
Subject: Montclair High School Closing: Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Greetings Montclair Public School Parents/Guardians:

We are fully committed to keeping our staff and students safe.  To that end, on Wednesday, September 12, 2018, we will once again close Montclair High School for students and staff (see the messages from September 7th and 10th below).  The purpose of this closing is to further analyze the structural soundness of each staircase at Montclair High School and to finalize the plan for a tentative, two-hour delayed reopening on Thursday, September 13.  The rationale for the two-hour delayed reopening for students only is to allow sufficient time for staff to prepare for instruction using a modified facilities utilization plan.  

Today, we continued to assess our high school buildings and created a modified facilities utilization plan.  For your consideration, the Annex was cleared for full use, and select areas in the main building were also cleared.  Regrettably, we will not have full access to the Main building, and therefore, we will close Montclair High School again tomorrow for one final inspection. For the safety of our students, staff, parents/guardians and visitors, I am directing that both buildings remain closed to all students, all parents/guardians, all visitors and all staff (only exceptions include: (1) select facilities team members focused on a ground level project and (2) district facilities consultants – engineers, vendors and architect). Select sports teams will be allowed to practice using the Field House and associated fields only.  Coaches received a communication regarding this topic yesterday.

Using a modified facilities utilization plan, it is our tentative plan to reopen Montclair High School on September 13, 2018. Provided our modified facilities utilization plan is approved, we will tentatively reopen using a two-hour delay for students only. Staff report at the regular time. For the two-hour delay, first period classes will begin at 10:00 AM (there will be no zero period classes).

Here are my ongoing commitments to you:

  1. Focus on Safety – I will continue to make critical decisions that promote the safety of our students and staff.  Safety is always the focus.
  1. Ongoing Communication  - I will continue to provide daily updates on or before 5:00 PM.  In the update, I will inform if there are any changes to the opening of school the following day.  My goal is to assess the building daily to make an informed decision.  Safety is always the focus.
  2. Status of the Repairs - Our district architect and Director of Building and Grounds will provide an update to the Montclair Board of Education on September 17, 2018 at or around 7:45 PM.  If you are interested, you may attend the Board Meeting or watch the Board Meeting live on Channel 33.  The meeting will be posted to our district website within 72 hours of the meeting. 

Thank you in advance for your support. Enjoy your day!

With excellence, equity, social justice and access,
Dr. Kendra Johnson, Superintendent
Montclair Public Schools


From: Kendra Johnson <kjohnson@montclair.k12.nj.us>
Date: Monday, September 10, 2018 at 3:05 PM

Subject: Montclair High School Closing: Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Greetings Montclair High School Parents/Guardians:

On Tuesday, September 11, 2018, we will close Montclair High School for students and staff.  The purpose of this closing is to further analyze the structural soundness of each staircase at Montclair High School.  As you know, on Friday, September 7, 2018, we closed one set of stairs (see the message from Interim Principal Trigg Scales below).  We immediately blocked off the staircase, and then we rerouted all students and staff to the remaining four staircases. 

Today, we had several officials, including our engineers, on site to assess our high school buildings.  As a result, we will close Montclair High School tomorrow, September 11, 2018.  For the safety of our students, staff, parents/guardians and visitors, I am directing that both buildings are closed to all students, all parents/guardians, all visitors and all  staff (only exceptions include: (1) select facilities team members focused on a ground level project and (2) district facilities consultants – engineers, vendors and architect).    Select sports teams will be allowed to practice using the Field House and associated fields only.  Coaches received a communication regarding this topic earlier today.

It is my hope to open Montclair High School on Wednesday, September 12, 2018.   Here are my commitments to you:

  1. Focus on Safety – I will make critical decisions that promote the safety of our students and staff.  While closing the high school the second week of the 18-19 school year is disappointing, it is a necessity.  Once we re-open the high school, I will share the plan to address our compliance with state required seat time for all high school students. Safety is always the focus.
  2. Ongoing Communication  - I will provide daily updates on or before 5:00pm.  In the update, I will inform if we will open school the following day.  My goal is to assess the building daily to make an informed decision.  Safety is always the focus.
  3. Status of the Repairs - Our district architect and Director of Building and Grounds will provide an update to the Montclair Board of Education on September 17, 2018 at or around 7:45PM.  If you are interested, you may attend the Board Meeting or watch the Board Meeting live on Channel 33.  The meeting will be posted to our district website within 72 hours of the meeting.  Safety is always the focus.

Thank you in advance for your support.  Enjoy your day!

With excellence, equity, social justice and access,
Dr. Kendra Johnson, Superintendent
Montclair Public Schools


From: Montclair High School [ mailto:donotreply@montclair.k12.nj.us
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2018 12:44 PM 
To: Nina De Rosa < nderosa@montclair.k12.nj.us
Subject: IMPORTANT NOTICE FROM PRINCIPAL TRIGG-SCALES 

Dear Parents and Guardians: 

I would like to inform you of an incident that occurred this morning at Montclair High School involving the collapse of a portion of a stairwell in the main building.  First and most importantly no injuries were sustained and immediate action was taken to protect the students. The complete stairwell was closed and staff posted to deter students from attempting to enter the stairs and to direct them to other stairwells in the building.  All pertinent parties, including district and town personnel were notified and arrived to ascertain the situation.  The architect was on scene and the doorways are being blocked off by buildings and grounds personnel.  On Monday September 10 th, a structural engineer will do an analysis of the section of collapsed stairs to fix cause and to determine the structural soundness of the remaining stairwells in the building due to the increased usage by rerouting students and staff.  Be assured that everything possible is being done to safeguard our students and staff.  I will forward more information as it becomes available. 

Also, I want to wish our Mountie boys and girls soccer teams and football team good luck this weekend and ask that you come to the games to offer your support.  Go Blue! 

With regards, 
Terry Trigg-Scales 
Interim Principal

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