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Community Update 01/07/2022: School Schedule Plan & COVID-19 Cases


January 7, 2022


Dear Springfield Public Schools Community:

I hope you and your family are staying warm and have the opportunity to enjoy some hot chocolate on this snow day!

I would like to extend my gratitude to our whole community for your understanding during this challenging week.  The purpose of this letter is to provide an update regarding COVID-19 cases and our plans for next week.  

First, we are committed to continuing to work to keep our students in-person throughout the remainder of this school year.  It was wonderful to welcome students back into classrooms this week, and especially wonderful to celebrate the full school return to the Edward V. Walton Early Childhood Center!  Virtual instruction has also been a critical tool for us to get through this school year due to disruptions caused by Hurricane Ida, COVID-19 isolation and quarantine requirements, and staffing shortages.  Any use of virtual instruction is done following the guidance set forth by the New Jersey Department of Education, and in consultation with our county education officials and local health officials. 

Second, it is our intention to return to full-day in-person instruction starting Monday, January 10, 2022. This is in consultation with our local health official, and is based on currently projected staffing levels and student cases, and is subject to change.  We will continue to closely monitor the number of COVID-19 cases reported by our staff and students (see below), and it is fully possible that we may have to shift school schedules to accommodate any increases in cases that may occur over the weekend.  We will announce any shifts as soon as we have the information necessary to do so.  While our region remains in a “Very High” level of COVID-19,  it is important to note:

  • Remember to dress your children warmly, as the windows are open in the classrooms and we are encouraging students to go outside if the weather and temperatures permit us to do so. 

  • Masks will be off when students are eating, but they will be required to immediately put the mask back on when they are finished eating.  

  • At FMG & JDHS no snacks will be allowed during activity period, unless medically necessary or as a result of specific student scheduling needs.  This rule will be strictly enforced.  

  • Non-athletic extracurricular activities will continue to meet virtually through next week. In addition, no spectators will be allowed in the athletic games during this week, and positive cases on teams will lead to a pause in practices and games in order to closely monitor for symptoms.  Any shifts in these policies will be announced through the athletic department. 

Third, our success in maintaining a healthy school community continues to be dependent on our families.  We are grateful to those that kept their child home from school due to close contact, development of symptoms, a pending test result, or a positive test result.  Please continue to report your child’s status using the COVID-19 Health Status Form to alert schools to your student’s status. 

Below, please find the report of positive tests for this week:



Jan. 6
Confirmed Positive
Cases Reported
Jan. 4-5
Confirmed Positive
Cases Reported
Dec. 24-Jan. 3
Cases Reported*

Edward V. Walton Early Childhood Center




Thelma L. Sandmeier Elementary




James Caldwell Elementary




Florence M. Gaudineer Middle School




Jonathan Dayton High School




*This count is based on parent-reported positive tests and has not been fully confirmed. These numbers do not include school staff.


Isolation/Quarantine/School Exclusion Guidance

While we are aware of a recent update to CDC guidance, we will not adjust our practices until we have guidance from the New Jersey Department of Health and consult with our local health official.  Our current protocols for school settings have not changed, and include the following: 

  • Individuals who receive a positive test result will be required to quarantine for 10 days from the date of the positive test or 10 days from the onset of physical symptoms, based on a consultation with the nurse/health department.  This time period is not impacted by vaccination status. The day of the positive is considered day zero, and the return date will be calculated based on the test date.  When multiple positive tests have been taken, the date of the first test will be day zero. 

  • Individuals that are fully vaccinated and/or who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days are not required to quarantine following exposure or travel.  Individuals that are vaccinated are encouraged to monitor for symptoms, as they may indicate a breakthrough case.

  • Individuals that are not fully vaccinated, but who are identified as a close contact, will be excluded from school for 7 or 10 days

    • An unvaccinated individual identified as a “close contact” that remains asymptomatic after exposure, and who receives a negative PCR test on days 5,6, or 7, following the exposure, may return to school on the 8th day following exposure.

    • The results of the PCR test must be submitted to the school nurse prior to the return.

    • An unvaccinated individual that remains asymptomatic after exposure, but does not participate in a PCR test, may return to school after the 10th day following exposure.

All guidance can be found on the NJDOH website:  Department of Health | Communicable Disease Service | COVID-19: Information for Schools.

Some general reminders include:

  • As more students become vaccinated, please remember that they are only fully vaccinated 14 days after the second dose. 

  • If a student is fully vaccinated, they do not need to quarantine for exposure. If they have an exposure, and in turn, become symptomatic, they should test and wait for negative results prior to re-entering school.

  • Contact tracing is a time-consuming process, it might not be feasible for instant notification.  Please be understanding as our nurses and administrators are working tirelessly to make sure all exposed parties are notified as timely as possible. 

  • As a reminder, you have attested to the fact that it is your responsibility to monitor your child for COVID-like symptoms on a daily basis.  Please do not send your child to school if they are feeling ill.

As always, please remain vigilant in tracking any symptoms within your home and do not send symptomatic students to school.  If your child needs to remain at home due to covid-like symptoms, a positive test, or close contact, please complete the COVID-19 Health Status Form

Thank you for your understanding as we work to keep our community safe. 


Rachel Goldberg