Important School Opening Message from the Superintendent
September 2, 2021
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope you all had an enjoyable summer and had an opportunity to spend some quality time with family and friends. We all are aware that the last school year was very difficult and challenging for parents, staff and students. It was our hope that this school year we would be able to return to a normal setting with full in-person instructuction for everyone. While this looks like many things will return to normal there are unfortunately still some issues that will continue due to the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic. As I am sure you are all aware, the Governor has issued executive orders that will have an immediate impact on our schools. The following are some of the procedures that all staff and parents will need to be aware of as we prepare to begin our 2021-2022 school year.
Executive Order 251 from Governor Murphy clearly mandated the requirement for all staff, students and visitors to wear a mask during the school day with a few exceptions. This is also listed on the NJDOE website in the Road Forward document. Please review these documents to get further information.
Some of the exceptions for not wearing a mask are during lunch, outside activities, and indoor activities with physical exercise such as physical education class where social distancing can be maintained. While I understand the extreme difficulties associated with wearing masks such as health, stress, and academic issues, there is also a concern for health and safety due to a definite upswing in the number of positive cases including school age children. Regardless of personal feelings, this is a mandate and must be followed. We cannot accept parent notes for exemption of students wearing a mask. Of course this is an ever-changing situation and we may be able to adjust procedures if the situation changes and if this order is lifted or revised in any way. The following are important points to remember for our opening of school:
- All students will receive in-person instruction and there is no remote option for students this year. There is one exception and that is if students are required to quarantine due to being identified as close contacts either through school or a medical doctor or if a student receives a positive test. This option is not available for any other absences.
- All schools will return to a normal full schedule. This includes kindergarten, which will be a full day.
- Lunch will also be served in school. This includes hot meal options as well as cold. Breakfast will also be available.
- A health questionnaire will still be required and temperatures will be taken before entering the building.
- Hand sanitizing stations will continue to be available.
- Social distancing of 3 to 6 feet will be stressed but will not be possible in all cases.
- Students will be required to wear a mask on the bus.
- Contact tracing will continue and students may be required to quarantine if identified as a close contact.
I will be forwarding more information as it becomes available or if anything changes from the NJDOE or the Governor’s office.
In regard to our transportation assignments, we made some significant changes in our software that increased our efficiency. However, whenever you make a change, there will be some adjustments. I ask that if a situation is different from previous years, that you wait for the first two weeks before any requests for changes are made. However, if there is a serious concern, you can address this with our transportation office.
I understand that this is not the opening of the school year we were all hoping for, but the situation continues to be serious with an upswing in positive cases throughout New Jersey. We will do whatever we can to mitigate the effects of mask wearing when possible.
Please remember that currently there is a mask mandate and all students, staff and visitors are required to wear a mask. We cannot allow students to attend school without a mask. While I understand and respect the different concerns of our parents and staff, please do not put your child or the district in a position where we need to exclude anyone from school.
Thank you for your understanding and hopefully we will again see improvement in containing the virus and be able to provide a safe and healthy environment without masks.
I will again set up an email to answer questions and that information will be posted in the near future.
Thank you as always for your cooperation and support for your child and our district.
David Trethaway, Superintendent of Schools