Hello Bridgewater-Raritan Community,
I hope this email finds you well and enjoying the start of the summer!
Last week, Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Education released The Road Forward: Health and Safety Guidance for the 2021-2022 School Year which focuses on full-day, full-time, and in-person instruction for September 2021.
As we know that many of you are already thinking about September, we wanted to take this opportunity to share an initial update. Please be aware that additional information will be communicated as we receive updates and plans for September are finalized.
- The most important takeaway from the guidance is that all districts must plan to provide full-day, full-time, in-person instruction for all students for the 2021-2022 school year. We are excited to welcome all students back to school after such a challenging year, and we are hard at work with plans to make that happen!
- The guidance also states that we should anticipate potential updates prior to the start of the new school year, as additional federal recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) become available. We will, of course, share any updates with the community.
As always, the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District is committed to keeping our students and staff members safe. There are multiple recommendations that we will be working to implement in order to keep our students and staff safe, including the following:
- We will continue close communication with our local health departments in order to stay current regarding the following: COVID-19 transmission rates, prevention, control measures, and health and safety protocols. It is important to also remember that COVID-19 may impact certain areas of the state differently, and the NJDOH provides information on COVID-19 transmission at the regional level, characterizing community transmission as low (green), moderate (yellow), high (orange), and very high (red).
- Masks are one way to mitigate risk and are currently required in some situations. For instance, masks must be worn by all passengers on buses, regardless of vaccination status per the CDC’s Federal Order.
- There has not been a final determination regarding masking requirements within the schools and classrooms for the 2021-2022 school year. The Road Forward explains that updated guidance on masking in the school setting is expected prior to September. That CDC guidance will factor into the final recommendations from the state of New Jersey for masking this fall. Additional information, specific to our district, will be provided following that release.
- The district will maintain three feet of distance between students in classroom settings to the extent possible while offering full-time, in-person learning to all students.
- Similarly, the district will maintain three feet physical distance between students and staff in lunch rooms and cafeterias when possible.
- Parents/caregivers will be required to monitor their children for signs of illness every day and should continue to check for symptoms before leaving for school. Students who are sick should not attend school. Although parents/guardians are required to monitor children for signs of illness, parents/guardians will not be required to complete daily screening forms.
Hand Hygiene/Cleaning Practices:
- We will continue to reinforce the following practices:
- Teach and reinforce hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer will be available. Practice hand hygiene.
- Encourage students and staff to cover coughs and sneezes
- Maintain adequate supplies including soap, hand sanitizer
- Daily cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands-on learning items, faucet handles, phones, and toys.
Medically Fragile Students:
We recognize that some students may have serious underlying medical conditions that may preclude them from attending school in person. If your child’s condition requires a change in educational program, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include medical documentation from your child's physician in support of this request. The district’s physician will review the medical documentation, and the district will then reach out to you with a determination, and if needed, develop a plan.
We will continue these discussions throughout the summer and will communicate final plans prior to the start of the school year.
Finally, we hope you and your family have the opportunity to enjoy a well-deserved break!
And, if you are looking for a way to spend a rainy day, remember to check out our Summer Learning Platform!
See you in September!