As many of you are no doubt aware, on December 27, 2021, the CDC issued a press release shortening the recommended time for isolation and quarantine for the general public. The CDC is currently updating guidance documents for specific settings, including schools, to consider how updated isolation and quarantine timeframes should be applied in these settings. The New Jersey Department of Health will review and/or update New Jersey guidance for schools once the CDC guidance is released.
Until the CDC updates school specific guidance, it is recommended that K-12 schools continue to follow the current isolation and quarantine timeframes (10-day isolation if positive; 7 or 10-day quarantine with and without negative testing). As with most of this guidance, it is expected to change quickly, and we will communicate again.
New Jersey is reporting record-high COVID-19 cases and test positivity rates, and this is true in our area, as well. Please note that the rise in cases is due to overall community spread and not as a result of outbreaks in our schools. Based on Nutley vaccination rates, testing protocols, and actual numbers of confirmed positive cases prior to the school break, we remain committed to continuing full-time in person instruction resuming Monday, January 3, 2022.
As always, we will continue to monitor the information daily, stay proactive, and are prepared for contingencies based on our district 2021-2022 Return to School Plan. We ask you to be patient while we navigate changing daily scenarios. We are in constant consultation with the local and county Health Departments in our continued effort to keep all staff and students safe.
Continued Safety Measures
We will continue to adhere to mask mandates as outlined in Executive Order 251 in school and ask that you please wear face coverings out of school as well, especially indoors. The district will continue to conduct routine COVID-19 screening testing and continue to promote our layered prevention strategies including social distancing, handwashing, cleaning, and improved ventilation. If your child should develop symptoms such as fever (100◦F) or chills, cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms including fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea, please seek medical attention. The State of New Jersey website includes a symptom checker and testing sites: https://covid19.nj.gov/. If you or your child are feeling unwell, please stay home!
As a reminder, if you or your child are made aware that you were exposed to COVID-19 and are not vaccinated, please begin to quarantine as soon as possible. This includes quarantining following a COVID-19 test until you receive your results.
We are again asking that you complete the Parent Covid Agreement that is located in the “Parent Questions” section of the Realtime Parent Portal: https://www.fridayparentportal.com/nutley
This survey is now open and MUST be completed by Monday, January 3, 2022. This deadline has been set to accommodate those who may have been traveling over the break.
As a reminder, for those traveling, the CDC provides travel guidance for unvaccinated individuals to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Unvaccinated individuals who travel domestically and outside of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, should get tested 1-3 days before their trip and 3-5 days after travel. Even if they test negative upon return, the CDC recommends unvaccinated individuals stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days after domestic travel, and for 10 days if they are unable to test. The district continues to follow this guidance. More travel guidance can be found here.https://tinyurl.com/TravelQuarantine
Optional Student Testing Details
We will also continue to make testing available to all students regardless of vaccination status. Testing for students is voluntary, and there is no requirement to test. In-district testing is for those who are asymptomatic only. If your child is feeling unwell, or is unvaccinated and has been exposed to COVID, they must seek medical advice. We can only provide well-testing. Testing will be held in the NHS cafeteria Monday afternoons after school, by appointment only.
The testing will be performed with the use of either a nasal swab or saliva PCR test - you will choose the testing method via the online testing center link provided during registration. Nasal swab results will be in the patient portal within 24 to 48 hours. The saliva test does take up to 72 hours to process with the current number of tests labs are expected to process. Your student does not need to quarantine while awaiting test results.
Weekly Testing Schedule
The district is, once again, partnering with the Bergen New Bridge Medical Group. All parents interested in testing their students weekly will need to complete this survey: https://forms.gle/DbPZ44CVGmctFEJA6 by 4pm Wednesday, January 5th, 2022 to be scheduled for testing on Monday, January 10, 2022. You will be provided with an individually scheduled testing time/date - parents who completed this form by Thursday, December 30th have already received appointment notices for January 3rd. This testing time will be reserved for your student each Monday. If your child has a standing appointment time, you do not need to register again. When you receive appointment confirmation, you will need to complete the provided consent form from Bergen New Bridge, including photo ID. You will be asked for optional insurance information, however, it does not need to be completed. Insurance no longer covers the cost of diagnostic testing, however, the district has received grants from the CDC Foundation and FEMA to pay for the cost of testing in the district. There will be no charge for testing in-district at this time.
Positive Test Results
As has been done previously, you will receive a personal call from Bergen New Bridge with any positive test result. Additionally, the school nurse will be notified. Parents of all tested students will receive a follow-up email with their positive result, and both positive and negative results will be available in the patient portal at: https://communicator.syntellis.com/. You will need to enroll in the Patient Portal as a parent, and then use “Add Family Member” to access your student’s records. The “Provider” name to add is “Bergen New Bridge Medical Center.” If your child’s test is positive, he/she will be required to isolate for 10 days from the testing date prior to returning to school or activities. There are numerous free testing sites in each county if you miss your district testing appointment. You can find a listing at: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/testing#test-sites
This will mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spread, allow us to continue in-person operations, and plan for the best structure of educational services to minimize risk to staff and students. Again, when the CDC updates its guidance documents for schools, we will also update our information.
I am hopeful that you can enjoy your last few days of break. Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and safe New Year.
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