MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — As part of its Restart and Recovery plan for the fall, the South Orange-Maplewood School District will adhere to the CDC’s Guidance for Schools and Childcare Programs and will be providing accommodations to individuals that the CDC identifies as high-risk due to age, pre-existing conditions and/or disability.

In order to enter a school building every student over two years old must wear a face covering. Any student who does not have a documented medical condition that refuses to wear a mask can learn virtually. Staff will visually check all arriving students for COVID-19 symptoms and may take temperatures.

Each desk will be placed six feet apart to maintain social distancing. Schools will develop plans for students to regularly wash hands for twenty seconds with soap and water. This will include before eating, after using the bathroom and after coughing, sneezing or blowing their nose.

Sign Up for SOMA Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

“We’re investing in air scrubbers, ventilation upgrades and HEPA filters,” Superintendent Taylor told TAPinto SOMA in late July. “Things that have been recommended through the CDC that make our air even cleaner while we’re in [school], just to ensure that we’re able to make our buildings as safe as possible.”

The district plan requires that all indoor facilities be properly ventilated and that all air conditioning units have filters replaced in accordance with the manufacturers standards.

Should a student begin displaying symptoms during the school day they will be isolated. The N.J. Dept. of Education plan instructs schools to create an isolation space where students can wait for their parents to pick them up.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 each classroom and common area will have hand sanitizer and wipes with at least 60% alcohol. Children under five will be supervised while using sanitizer.

Classrooms that already have hand washing stations will be provided with soap in addition to sanitizer.

Visitors will not be allowed into school buildings except for law enforcement and emergency services in an official capacity, child services, and health department personnel. No food delivery will be allowed for any reason and all parent meetings will be conducted virtually. If a principal decides that a visitor is necessary they will be admitted by appointment only. In addition to a face covering the visitor will undergo a temperature check and complete an exposure questionnaire.

Hallway lockers and locker rooms will be closed at Columbia High School and both middle schools to prevent large groups from congregating. Any equipment used during recess and physical education classes will be cleaned after each use.

All in person school days will be operating on the half-day schedule, meaning there will be no lunch served. Grab and go meals will be available at designated locations for students and families.

At the end of each day school nurses will send a COVID-19 report to South Orange and Maplewood Health Officers and school principals. These reports will include names of students who were sent home sick and their school, grade, class, town of residence, and symptoms.

In the event that any person who has spent time in district facilities tests positive for COVID-19 the superintendent will immediately notify local health officials. Families and staff members will be notified in a timely fashion while maintaining confidentiality.

Keep following TAPinto SOMA as we continue to cover the 122-page Restart and Recovery Plan.


In other education news:

SOMDS Releases Fall Plan

Seton Hall Goes Test Optional for fall applicants

In our school district,  SOMEA Joins the Call for Remote Only Learning This Fall

Whether in school or at home this fall, SOMDS announced a new learning management system for teachers, students, and parents


TAPinto SOMA is a free online newspaper serving the Townships of Maplewood and South Orange Village with no paywall. 

TAPinto SOMA is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

Sign up for our FREE daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.