MAPLEWOOD, NJ — School district officials, staff, and parents have worked hard to keep students and faculty safe during the COVID-19 pandemic — they just haven't always agreed about how to go about it.

Families traveling out of state during spring break presents another potential problem upon return. Therefore, upon returning from spring break April 5 there will be remote learning only during a two-week quarantine just to ensure the safety of students and faculty in the South Orange Maplewood School District. 

“We are continuing our Pandemic Response Team's protocols even during the break,” said Columbia High School Principal Frank Sanchez. “That means when a student contacts me that they are positive, I work with my team to see if they play sports, are in activities, or if they have been in the school over the past 10 days. Our nurse would also contact the parents to see how the student is doing and whether they want us to share the information with the student's teachers. It is a confidential and efficient process that continues every day, regardless [of] if we are in session or not.” 

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Sanchez said that strict precautions have been taken since the start of the pandemic and have continued into spring break this school year. 

“We have always reminded our students to practice safe COVID-mitigating strategies like social distancing, washing one's hands, and wearing masks, even when they are home outside of school,” said Sanchez.

“For students in our sports programs and extracurricular activities, they must follow the strict COVID protocols we have that have been designed by the NJSIAA. That means we restrict spectators at sports, athletes wear masks when not doing aerobic activity, and we have PPE available for them.”

“Just to be safe, we have a mandated two-week quarantine starting Monday that follows our Spring Break,” said Sanchez. “This way our students will be ready and safe to start the next phase of our Return to School program. I want to thank our students, teachers, and parents who have taken these precautions so seriously.”

According to the district website, in-person hybrid instruction will resume on Monday, April 19.

 

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