With end of COVID seemingly in site, HVRSD makes masks optional

The following letter was sent to HVRSD families this morning, March 1:

Dear HVRSD Community,

Thank you to those who reached out and provided input regarding masking in our schools. Per the expiration of Governor Murphy’s executive order mandating masks be worn in schools and the lifting of the CDC guidelines on mandated masking on school buses and vans, we are ready to move forward to our next phase of managing COVID-19 in our schools. 

This has been a difficult decision. As a school community, we have worked together during this pandemic to keep each other safe and healthy, and will continue to do so in the days to come. 

At this time, with the support of our HVRSD Board of Education and our local health department, the decision has been made to transition to a mask optional phase. This decision was based upon a number of factors, the most significant being the number of students and staff who are vaccinated, the decrease in transmission rates, and our diligent efforts in implementing mitigation measures throughout this pandemic.

In order to continue on the right track, members of our school community need to be mindful of the following district and local medical experts’ recommendations:
On March 7, 2022, masks will be optional in our schools and on our school buses.
We strongly encourage individuals who feel they need to wear a mask to continue to do so. The KN95 masks have been proven to be most effective. 

The district will take appropriate action to ensure that no students/staff members are treated differently based on their decision to wear or not wear a mask. 

This transition may be difficult for some of our staff members and students. Parents/Guardians who have children who have anxiety around this transition should reach out to their school counselors or child study team representative to work through concerns; they will support your child during this transition. 

Get vaccinated, if you are able to do so. Parents/Guardians should consult with their pediatricians or primary care physician regarding vaccination questions and concerns. They can help you to make the best decision for your child and for your own preventative care.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19,  wear a mask, practice social distancing, and get tested – the use of a home test is acceptable. Please contact your school nurse to find out the appropriate timeline for you to test. Parents/Guardians and staff can attain free tests kits  at https://special.usps.com/testkits).

If a student or staff member has COVID-like symptoms, they are encouraged to stay home until they are able to test and rule out COVID-19 (those who don’t test should stay home for 5 days or submit an alternative diagnosis from a doctor). We are still requiring a 5 day isolation period for those student/staff members who test positive for COVID-19; in order to return to school on day 6 staff/students are very strongly encouraged to wear masks through day 10. Consult with your school nurse for exact return to in-person learning dates.  

Contact tracing will no longer be required should a student/staff member test positive for COVID-19

For students who are sent home due to symptoms:
Siblings will also need to quarantine if they are unvaccinated and/or show COVID like symptomsStudents are strongly encouraged to testIn the event that a doctor is seen, a note with an alternative diagnosis is acceptable if we are in a CALI score or green/yellow (low or moderate transmission)Contact your school nurse if you have any questions about when to test and how long to quarantineZoom links will be provided to students and siblings while they are quarantine for remote learning.

We ask that everyone continue to be vigilant in their hygiene practices. Wear a mask in high risk situations (e.g. in large groups and high risk situations such as traveling both domestically and internationally). Wash your hands frequently and social distance as much as possible.

Students will continue to be spaced apart in the classrooms and during lunches as much as possible. 

Please note: Staff and students should be prepared for a transition back into a mask mandated phase, should the mandate need to be reinstated if we are in the red (very high transition rate) and under the guidance of our local Health Departments and the New Jersey Department of Health. 

As we move into this next phase, we ask that we continue to work together as a community to ensure that our students and staff are able to remain in person learning as much as possible. We will continue to provide remote access to students who are isolating/quarantining. It has been a long and challenging two years, but I am hopeful that we are moving forward. Thank you for your support and cooperation. 

Regards, 

Rosetta D. Treece, Superintendent of Schools

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