MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The South Orange-Maplewood School District announced that the Preschool program has been fully funded for the 2020-2021 school year.

The district expects to have at least 300 preschoolers this fall and has sent acceptance letters to those families. Dr. Melody Alegria, Assistant Superintendent for Special Services and Youth told TAPinto SOMA that the district is working with its preschool program partners to create a cleaning checklist for the schools to follow that will ensure the safety of students and staff.

Preschools will be removing high contact and difficult to clean items like teddy bears and rugs entirely. They will also implement an increased sanitization plan for all remaining toys and other high contact surfaces. Program partners are represented on the district's Rethink-Reopen Taskforce which will be releasing its plan in early August.

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New Jersey Department of Education guidelines state that any parent wishing to keep their child on virtual instruction this semester will have that option. If preschool parents decide to opt for online learning the district will accommodate that student. However, virtual instruction will only be available for students who have been accepted into the preschool program. This is because every virtual student is paired with a teacher who can only instruct a certain amount of kids.

In keeping with CDC recommendations all staff and students over the age of 2 will be required to wear a mask unless they have a documented medical condition. To ease this transition the district will be releasing informational videos aimed at young children to explain why masks are important to keep everyone safe. Dr. Alegria hopes this will normalize wearing a mask for the students and make them more comfortable in the presence of adults with masks.


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