Will students and staff be required to wear masks/fitted face coverings? As a result of Governor Murphy’s recent Executive Order, all staff and students will be required to wear face coverings when indoors, unless exempted for medical reasons. Face coverings must meet CDC guidelines. Face Shields or bandanas by themselves are not acceptable alternatives for face coverings. Masks with exhalation valves or vents are also not acceptable, as they may contribute to the spread of the virus. Anyone refusing to wear a face covering will be denied entry to district facilities.
Is there evidence that masks are effective? Yes. Recent studies have shown that mask-wearing in schools has contributed to lower levels of COVID-19 transmission among students and staff and allowed for continued in-person attendance. Further, research supports that mask wearing has no significant adverse health effects for wearers. More information on the effectiveness of mask wearing, including published research, can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website
What measures will be taken to clean and disinfect common areas throughout the school day?
The Ridgefield Park Public School District is committed to exceeding the requirements set forth by local health departments and CDC regulations with regard to facility cleaning practices. A thorough, deep cleaning will be performed daily. Our custodial staff will follow a cleaning and disinfecting checklist each day.
Disinfectant wipes will be made available to students and teachers to clean their individual workspaces throughout the day.
Industrial arts, wood, metal, auto shops and art rooms will be provided with disinfectant to spray commonly used machinery, tools and supplies after each use.
Custodians will sanitize and disinfect common areas throughout the day.
What steps will the district take to promote social distancing throughout the instructional school day?
The district will maintain 3 feet of social distancing where possible, in accordance with NJDOE Guidance.
At the elementary level, one grade level per lunch period will be kept in classrooms reducing the number of students in the cafeteria to help with social distancing. Grade levels/ homerooms will be rotated weekly.
At the Junior-Senior High School level, additional tables will be placed in the commons and outside to help with social distancing. Grade 12 students are historically permitted to leave campus for lunch (not in a vehicle). We also plan to create a supervised outdoor eating area should any students grades 7-11 wish to do so as well.
How will the district conduct daily health screenings?
Parents/guardians will receive weekly reminders to not send their children to school if they are exhibiting any possible symptoms of COVID-19. Parents or caregivers are strongly encouraged to monitor their children for signs of infectious illness every day. Staff members will also be required to conduct a daily self-assessment/health screening of COVID-19 symptoms.
Will students be able to use their lockers throughout the day (JSHS only)?
Students will be allowed to use their assigned lockers.
How will students participate safely in Physical Education Classes? Students should continue to wear appropriate activewear and athletic footwear to school on P.E. days. At the RPJSHS, students have the option to change in the locker room for P.E. classes. Activities may be held outside, weather permitting. Per the Governor’s Executive Order 251, face coverings may be removed indoors when a student is participating in high-intensity physical activities during a physical education class in a well-ventilated location and able to maintain a physical distance of six feet from all other individuals. Equipment will be cleaned and sanitized regularly. Hand sanitizer will be made available to students and teachers.
How will students participate safely in after school activities and athletics? All school-day procedures will also be followed for after-school activities and athletics. Where possible, activities will be conducted outside. Students will not be required to wear a face covering outdoors. As per the Governor’s Executive order, face coverings may be removed
indoors when students are participating in high-intensity aerobic or anaerobic activities or when they are engaged in activities that cannot physically be performed while wearing a mask, such as eating, drinking, or playing a musical instrument that would be obstructed by a face mask. Singers will be required to wear face coverings while indoors.
What happens if a student or staff member exhibits signs of COVID-19 during school? Students and staff with symptoms related to COVID-19 will be referred to the school nurse for evaluation. Students with confirmed symptoms will be safely and respectfully isolated from others under the supervision of a school nurse. School officials will follow current Communicable Disease Service guidance for illness reporting. Contact Tracing will be conducted and directed by the district contact tracer.
What happens if a student needs to quarantine?
The district will continue to follow CDC guidelines for quarantining.
Fully vaccinated students without symptoms are not required to quarantine after a close contact exposure but should get tested and wear a mask for 14 days after exposure. Unvaccinated individuals, partially vaccinated individuals, or individuals whose status is unknown will be required to follow the full quarantine protocols. Close contacts will have the opportunity to submit vaccination documentation to the school nurse before a quarantine determination is made.
Anyone with symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to quarantine per the local health department guidelines.
Now that the state of New Jersey is mandating full day, in person education, Ridgefield Park will not provide any student with remote education unless they are directed by the Ridgefield Park Public Schools to quarantine due to exposure in the classroom, or if a student needs to quarantine for more than 10 school days due to COVID reasons only. This procedure helps bring back the rights of our students to privacy from individuals who are outside of the classroom to the greatest extent possible. If remote instruction is necessary, our teachers will provide that student with the link to stream in and observe the class. Please note that the teacher will be circulating the classroom providing instruction to the students who are in person and may not be in front of a camera. Family members who are home with a child receiving remote instruction are not permitted to interfere with the instruction just as they would not be allowed inside the building.
If a student has to quarantine due to other circumstances outside of school or are absent due to any other non-COVID reasons students will need to contact their building principal in consultation with their school nurse and homeroom teacher to discuss using Google Classroom independently to complete assignments, as was done prior to the global pandemic.
Does a student need to quarantine after out of state travel?
Please see the communication sent to the Ridgefield Park Public Schools community sent on August 23, 2021 from Dr. Haines.
Will hand sanitizing stations be available for student use?
Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the building in common areas such as hallways, gymnasiums, cafeteria, media centers, offices, and other large spaces. Hand sanitizer is also made available in each classroom.
Are there measures taken to improve air quality in the classrooms?
We anticipate having air purifiers for each classroom to filter the air for virus contaminants.
Will students be permitted to have food and drink in class?
Elementary Students- Students may bring a snack at the teacher’s discretion. Please only bring simple foods that are easy to open on their own and eat. This is not a time to eat a full lunch and food will not be warmed up for students. We encourage students to bring a water bottle as well.
Middle School/High School Students- Food is not permitted in classrooms. Students are asked to bring in their own reusable water bottles pre-filled from home. Water fountains will be turned off and the use of refilling stations will be limited. RPJSHS students will also be able to purchase bottled water from vending machines.