Dear Springfield Public Schools Community,
We are very excited to welcome our students to the 2022-2023 school year!
Throughout the summer, our staff has been hard at work! In addition to offering a wonderful summer learning program, our teachers attended professional development and worked on curriculum updates. This summer, we looked closely at our security protocols, installed new security vestibules, and walked through buildings with the Springfield Police Department, the Springfield Fire Department, and NJDOE security experts to review our schools and inform our building-level security practices in the coming year.
This week, you have received a variety of communications relating to the opening of schools, including school welcome back information, meal program updates, and notification that our Annual Registration process is now open. If you have not received these communications or have questions, please reach out to your school.
In addition, we have been closely monitoring the ongoing guidance from the New Jersey Department of Education, New Jersey Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control regarding COVID-19. As a result of the most recent guidance, our practice will shift in managing the challenges of COVID-19, from a pandemic-level response to an endemic-level response.
In our schools, this shift will be evident in the following ways:
- Students who are symptomatic of any communicable illness will be asked to stay home. We ask that parents do not send children to school with fevers, persistent cough, or extreme congestion. In addition, students who have experienced gastrointestinal issues should be kept home for at least 24 hours following an episode of vomiting or diarrhea.
- The district will no longer offer a COVID-19 tracking data set, and our nurses will not engage in contact tracing cases of reported COVID-19 unless there are multiple reports in a short period of time.
- Families will not be notified of individual positive cases in classrooms but will be notified if there are more than three positive cases in a short period of time (i.e. 1-4 days). This will not be limited to COVID-19, but will also include notification regarding students reporting positive cases of other illnesses (i.e. influenza, streptococcus).
- Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to maintain the 5-day exclusion period. If symptoms are resolved after 5 days and the student is fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medication) for 24 hours, they will be required to wear a well-fitting mask for the five school days following their return to school.
- When students are absent, instructional materials will be available to students, but teachers will not be utilizing virtual instruction while students are absent for periods of illness. Families will continue to have access to online programs and learning materials provided by the teacher.
- Students who are absent due to a confirmed case of COVID-19 or any other illness will be provided with appropriate time to make up school work, including classroom tests. State assessments may or may not be provided based on the testing schedules set by the State.
- The district will no longer engage in routine testing of employees who have not submitted documentation regarding vaccinations.
- Unless returning from a COVID-19 absence, masks will continue to be a choice for staff and students. Masking will only be mandated if the district is directed to do so by the health department or other State or Federal agency.
- The district will continue to encourage participation in vaccination programs, including Influenza and COVID-19, however, will only mandate vaccines if required to do so by a State or Federal agency.
If we receive guidance from the state or local health department that requires a shift in these protocols, we will update you with that information.
While we are looking forward to welcoming students and families back to school, we hope you enjoy the remaining days of summer!
Rachel Goldberg, Ed.D
Superintendent of Schools