COVID Information

Westwood Regional School District

2021-2022 School Year

Westwood Regional Covid-19 Case Data Dashboard

2021-2022 Covid -19 Case Dashboard

Updated around 4 p.m. on school days.

21-22 Safe Return Plan.docx (1).pdf

Safe Return Plan

Updated 8/2021

2021-2022 Remote Instruction Plan.pdf

Remote Instruction Plan

BoE Approved September 23, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions Drop Down

  • How will lunch be handled? Please contact the principal of the school to obtain specific information.

  • Why are the schools not air-conditioned? Can't we put in window units? Currently, the district is in the process of assessing the electrical capacity of each building. This will allow us to determine the available load capacity of each building, the amount of energy we currently drawdown, and the available load capacity to expand. We have no additional breakers for window units.

  • Why is lunch in the cafeteria/multi-purpose room and not the classrooms? Although COVID is at the top of everyone's mind, we cannot negate the fact that we have hundreds of students with life-threatening food allergies. Snack in the elementary classrooms has food that is prohibited due to students who have severe allergies. If we had lunch in the classrooms, we would have to prohibit nuts, peanuts, and other allergen foods from being eaten. We would also need personnel to monitor each child's lunch to make sure it does not contain an allergen. It would also be difficult to have the custodians clean every classroom quickly enough for when the students return from lunch/recess.

  • Why can't the District announce the mask optional days to parents the night before? The temperature varies throughout the day, especially in September and October. Masks may be required in the morning but optional in the afternoon. We may want to wait until the school day is underway to make the decision.

  • At what temperature will masks be optional? There is no one measure we can point to. We are going to consider the "feels like" temperature, not just the outside temperature. Upon consultation with the school physician and the New Jersey Department of Education, consideration in classrooms without air conditioning for a “mask optional” day will be given if the temperatures rise to the level of extreme heat.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is a strategy used to determine the source of an infection and how it is spreading. Finding people who are close contacts of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, and therefore at higher risk of becoming infected themselves, can help prevent further spread of the virus.

Per the CDC, close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of someone with suspected or known COVID-19 for 15 or more minutes during a 24-hour period. In certain situations, it may be difficult to determine whether individuals have met this criterion and an entire cohort, classroom, or other group may need to be considered exposed.

In the K–12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) where both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time. This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.

Vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus unless they are experiencing symptoms or test positive. The District is remaining neutral on the subject of vaccinations. We feel it is a parental choice, and we will neither encourage nor discourage students to get the vaccine.

Quarantine

Since the community transmission level is at the moderate (yellow) or low (green) level at this time, close contacts will be excluded from school for 10 days (or 7 days with a negative test result collected at 5-7 days).

If our transmission rate increases to high (orange), exposed close contacts will be excluded from school for 14 days.

General Practices

  • Schools will be open for a full day of instruction with lunch.

  • Parents and guardians will not be able to opt-out of in-person instruction, per Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 175.

  • We will provide virtual, synchronous “watch-along” instruction for COVID-positive or required quarantine students only. As in pre-pandemic times, students who are absent for regular illnesses, funerals or family vacations will be provided with work from their teachers.

  • Only essential visitors will be allowed in the buildings at the start of the school year.

Masking

  • Masks will be required indoors only per Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 251 for as long as they remain a mandate. Governor Murphy has since issued Executive Order 253, and that mandates individuals seeking a medical exemption from mask wearing must produce written documentation from a medical professional to support the exemption. Self and parental attestations are not sufficient. Therefore, all students and staff members will be expected to wear masks unless a doctor’s note is both provided and accepted by the District’s physician. If you would like to submit the required documentation, please forward it to your school nurse.

  • Please understand the District is legally required to enforce the Governor’s Executive Orders for masking. Disagreements with the mask mandate should be directed to the New Jersey Department of Education, not the school district. Parents, please refrain from calling the schools to inquire whether masks are required, as students are expected to come to school with a clean mask everyday until further notice. We are eager to focus on educating our students.

  • Masks will be required on school buses, per the federal order.

Desk Shields

  • We believe in parental/caregiver choice; therefore, whether a student uses a desk shield in the classroom and at lunch/snack is up to them. Principals will issue a form for parents/caregivers to complete if the use of a desk shield is desired. Students will be responsible for the transportation of their shields around the building. Our shields now have three clear windows (front and both sides).

Physical Distancing and Ventilation

  • We will maximize the separation of students, when possible.

  • Windows will be kept open as much as possible.

  • We will avoid having large gatherings inside of the school buildings.

Events and Activities

  • Back to School Nights will be virtual and teachers will be live in their classrooms. Parents/guardians will be able to interact with the teachers/staff members and will be able to ask questions.

  • Parent conferences and IEP meetings will be virtual unless all parties agree to an in-person meeting.

  • PSO meetings can be in-person, provided they are held outside of school hours.

  • PSO events will be conducted outside only. The Book Fairs held during the school day will be for students only.

  • In-person field trips and school-wide assemblies will be on hold until January 1, 2022. We will revisit them at that time.

  • For athletic information, please reference the middle or high school’s websites for the most up-to-date information.

Meals

  • Meals only will be served in the cafeterias or other designated areas. Lunch will be pre-ordered, and it will be served in a “grab and go” manner. Students can bring lunch if they prefer. Parents/caregivers can also sign their children out for lunch, if desired. Snack will be served in the elementary classrooms only. There is no need for students to bring money, as snacks will not be available for purchase.

  • Parents/caregivers will determine whether their children utilize a desk shield during lunch and/or snack.

  • Students in Grades K-12 will be entitled to free meals for the 2021-2022 academic school year through the National School Lunch Program’s Seamless Summer Option (SSO). Even though the district is providing free meals to all students, the Application for Free and Reduced-Price School Meals is available and is used to determine eligibility for P-EBT benefits, state funding and other benefits. It is essential to complete the Free and Reduced Applications in Genesis by clicking on Forms. A paper application is also available on our District’s website.

Quarantine Related to Travel

New Jersey’s travel advisory is no longer in effect. Therefore, quarantine after travel is no longer required.

All other protocols, such as mask exemptions, parental screening, exposure quarantining, contact tracing, handwashing and cleaning methodologies, will be similar to the last school year.