Back To School: Jersey City’s Plan for Students Returning to School
Back to School with COVID-19 Safety Requirements
It’s that time of the year when the summer break comes to an end and parents are preparing their kids to return to school. Come September; Jersey City Public Schools will welcome all students for in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year. We understand that going back to school can be stressful for children and parents, especially after a year of transitioning to virtual learning through the pandemic. So we got you covered with everything you need to know about Jersey City Public School’s Safe Return Plan and what you’ll expect for your child on the first day of school.
Jersey City Public Schools – Safe Return to School Plan
The Jersey City Public Schools (JCPS) follows the guidance in The Road Forward for In-Person Instruction During the 2020-2021 School Year produced by the Department of Education, in partnership with the Department of Health. JCPS also organized Safe Return Committees who brainstormed ideas and procedures for the Safe Return to school. The committees had a diverse representation from Board of Education members, teachers, specialists, maintenance and custodial members, transportation personnel, medical experts, and parents. Discussions helped form a layered approach combining safety precautions including masking, covid screening, social distancing, handwashing, improving ventilation, and contact tracing to ensure a safe return to school.
We have recapped the safety measures implemented by JCPS for you below according to the Jersey City Public School’s Safe Return Plan. Keep in mind; schools will have their specific safety plans put into place following the guidance from this document.
Is a COVID-19 Test Required Before Entering School?
Jersey City Public Schools will not require COVID-19 testing for students and staff as a condition to return to school. However, if a student or staff member has symptoms or has been in contact with the virus, they will need to provide medical clearance. In addition, Jersey City has various locations that offer testing for free. You can visit the sites here.
All students, staff, and visitors entering the school will have their temperature taken by a walk-through imaging scanner monitored by trained staff and school nurses, ensuring the safety of all students. In addition, parents should watch their children for signs of illness. If you suspect your child is sick, follow CDC recommended guidelines and consult with school staff to ensure they are provided clear instructions for reporting symptoms and reasons for absences.
Importance of Vaccinations
View this post on Instagram
Jersey City Public Schools Superintendent Franklin Walker stressed the importance of vaccinations before students return to school in the fall. Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are provided only for children 12 years of age and older. If your child is age 12 or older and you need a vaccine, visit Jersey City’s where to get vaccinated page offering numerous locations for a vaccination free of charge.
All preschool-through-12 school personnel are required to complete a full vaccination course or undergo regular testing at a minimum of once to twice each week. Full compliance is required by October 18th.
This executive order applies to all public, private, and parochial preschool programs and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools. It also applies to ALL individuals employed by a school – whether they work full time or part-time.
We’re continuing to do all we can to ensure a safe start to the school year. Strong masking and vaccination protocols, in tandem with other safety measures, are our best-consolidated tool for keeping our schools open for full-time, in-person instruction.
Face Masks – Are they required?
View this post on Instagram
Governor Murphy has made it mandatory for all students, educators, staff, and visitors to wear masks inside school buildings regardless of vaccination status. You can review the exceptions to the mask requirement here, which include medical cases.
Physical Distancing in Schools
JCPS follows CDC recommendations and ensures students maintain a distance of at least 3 feet in classroom settings. Additionally, schools will put into place the following practices to keep your children safe as much as possible according to the Jersey City Public School’s Safe Return Plan.
- The K-8 Schools will stagger start times by 5 minutes to maintain the current social distancing recommendations.
- Students and staff will keep 3 feet of distance outside, inside buildings, and on buses as much as possible.
- The sharing of supplies and materials will not be allowed.
- Mass gatherings such as school assemblies will not take place.
- Schools will limit the number of unnecessary visitors to buildings.
- Hand Sanitizers and face masks will be available throughout the school buildings.
Will School Meals be Served in Cafeterias?
Cafeterias will still serve students meals. All schools will have enhanced cleaning measures, including daily cleaning of all high-touch surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, desks, phones, keyboards, etc. Students and faculty will also see handwashing posters placed throughout the school.
Jersey City Public Schools have followed the CDC’s ventilation recommendations, ensuring improved airflow to the extent possible. Repairs and adjustments have been made to windows allowing increased ventilation for your children.
Will there be a Contact Tracing Team?
Each school will have a contact tracing team to ensure the confidentiality and safety of the students and staff. The contact trace team will interview students and staff to determine connections, locate and trace contacts, direct them to a testing facility for a COVID-19 diagnosis, and seek treatment. In addition, the contact tracer will ensure that the families receive the recommended services and support for students diagnosed as positive.
Back-to-School Safety Tips
The transition back will require cooperation from all with clear communication and transparency. Before starting school, practice standard precautions such as mask-wearing, social distancing, and washing hands with your child to make the transition easier. Creating a sanitation bag for your child is a good idea, so they are ready with their hand sanitizer, hand wipes, extra masks when needed. It’s also essential to ensure the school has the most updated telephone number to reach you in emergencies. In addition, always keep up to date on your child’s school for information about in-person learning.
We hope this article helped inform you on what to expect come September. We wish all the parents, students, teachers, and school faculty members a safe and healthy school year ahead.
- Schools and Child Care Programs
- The Road Forward: Health and Safety Guidance for the 2021-2022 School Year
- CDC Helping Children Cope