This letter was sent to Hopewell Valley Regional School District families on January 2:
Dear HVRSD Community,
Happy New Year. Thank you for your emails and patience during the Winter Break. We wanted to ensure that we had the most updated information prior to finalizing this communication. I want to thank our school nurses, administrators, health departments, and coaches for working tirelessly (both day and night) over the winter break on contact tracing and keeping us updated on the district’s status.
Based on the increase in positive COVID19 cases among HVCHS students and staff over the past few days, the Department of Health has decided that we will transition to virtual instruction for our CHS students only, beginning January 3 and continuing through January 7. The Department of Health will re-evaluate the number of active cases toward the end of the week and make a determination about next week at that point.
Extracurricular activities will continue for all district students. Coaches and staff will communicate with parents and students/athletes directly about any changes.
The elementary and middle school sites will open as planned on Monday, January 3, 2022 for in-person learning.
Students who are quarantining as a result of close contact or positive cases will be provided Zoom links for remote learning. We ask that parents/guardians and staff members alert your building principal and school nurse to any positive cases as they develop. This will ensure that we have the best information moving forward.
Currently, superintendents still do not have the authority to transition entire districts to remote learning nor may I offer a remote option for anyone who is not quarantining due to symptoms, a positive test result, or close contact. I may authorize that a classroom, grade level, or school be moved to full remote learning in collaboration with and with guidance from our local health department and the NJDOE. We are prepared to do that if necessary.
Please know that these decisions are based upon extensive conversations with our local health department, school leadership, nurses, school physician, representatives from the NJDOE and leadership across the County. As conditions allow, we will continue to support in-person learning for our students. Our data continues to indicate that when students are in person for learning and the district is using mitigating strategies to avoid in school transmission, the number of positive cases among students and staff has decreased. We have experienced spikes and the most drastic increases in positive cases immediately following extended breaks for students and staff and after long weekends, when those strategies are often not applied with the same vigilance. We also have seen that our students perform better academically and that we are better able to support their social-emotional needs when they are in-person.
At this time, K-12 institutions are encouraged to continue to adhere to the following guidelines from the NJDOH. The NJDOH has not yet adopted the revised 5-day quarantine policy, but will be providing schools with guidance upon their return next week. In the meantime, we have been instructed to continue following the 7-day guidelines with a negative test or the 10-day version without a test. I will alert you of any changes as they develop.
It is important that we continue to remain vigilant with mask wearing, hygiene, and social distancing both in and out of school. The district will continue to use the Mirimus Testing Program for all COVID-19 weekly tests for students and staff on Tuesdays from 2:30pm to 5:00pm behind the Administration Office on 425 S. Main Street, Pennington. Use the following Enrollment and Consent form to sign up. Please note that testing results will not be available until the Thursday after testing. This testing is free and available to our families.
We anticipate that the month of January will be difficult, and are expecting to see at least one more spike as a result of holiday gatherings that occurred over the past week. We ask that parents/guardians remain flexible as there might be a shift to remote learning at any point due to increased cases and/or staffing changes. We are committed to keeping you abreast of any changes as they develop. Moreover, elementary students will be bringing laptops home starting Monday to allow us the flexibility to move to remote learning as needed.
We know this continues to be a challenging time for our community. Please reach out if you need technical assistance to email@example.com. Our school counselors and child studies team members are also available to help with any social emotional struggles your child might be facing. Reach out to your principals if you do not have internet access or need other support.
During the first half of the year, we have persevered because we worked as a community to keep our children in school. I remain confident that we will get through this next wave with the least amount of disruption if we work together and remain diligent.
Rosetta D. Treece, Ed.D.
Superintendent of School
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