Information from Dr. Melissa Varley, Superintendent, about opening of schools.
I hope everyone is having a peaceful and restful holiday break. As we near the return to school on Monday, January 3, 2022, the district has made the decision to facilitate a single-session schedule for the first week of school (Monday, January 3- Friday, January 7, 2022). This means that all students will be in-person and return home for lunch and afternoon virtual learning for the remainder of the day. This decision was made in conjunction with the Union County Department of Health based on the increased number of COVID-19 positive cases and higher level of transmission rate within the Berkeley Heights and Mountainside municipalities. You can find the Cali report here. If you remember, we were told last year that if we were in the “red”, we must go virtual. Luckily, we do not have to do that at this time. Research was also conducted to determine what neighboring district’s plans to return included.
For now, we will handle the return-to-school on a week-by-week basis as we obtain more information and direction from medical professionals. Our goal is to provide students with in-person instruction for full days; however, we must put our students and staff members' health and safety first. We will utilize the single-session plans from the 2020-2021 school year with the arrival and dismissal times newly established to allow for the coordination of district transportation and more instructional time:
3-5 Schools 8:25-1:00
K-2 Schools 8:45-1:15
Your principal will be in further communication to provide you with additional information regarding the school schedule. We will be asking you to send a snack for your children as this can be a lengthy day without food. We know that the CDC has changed the quarantine guidelines, but we have not received official notification from the NJDOH that these guidelines will be adopted for K-12 schools. As soon as we know, we will update you. It is imperative that students and staff stay home if they display symptoms and may be sick.
As we prepare to return to school, we ask that parents and guardians continue monitoring their children’s health and not send students into school who are exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19. If your student tested positive or is identified as a close contact with someone who tested positive over break, please be sure to contact the school nurse or principal if you have not already done so. Attention to these details will allow the Berkeley Heights Public Schools to continue providing the high-quality, in-person instruction our students need.
I truly understand that this is not convenient for parents. If we have some “light” it is that we are not completely virtual. It is the district’s view that in person education is vital for our children.
It is my hope that our cases start to subside and 2022 will be our return to normalcy. Happy New Year!