As a Matter of Fact!

Back to School Special Edition - Vol 3. Issue 3 | 9.10.21

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Welcome Back!

Hello SOMSD Community,

Welcome back to school. We wish all of our students, staff, and families a great first day of school starting on Monday, September 13. Please see the reminders and resources listed below in our Back to School newsletter to assist you in a smooth transition during this first week.

South Orange & Maplewood School District

School Reopening News, Updates & Resources

All updates and resources regarding the District's Fall 2021 return to in-person instruction.

2021-22 Covid-19 Parent Agreement - Due by September 17

All families must submit an E-Signature for the 2021-22 Parent COVID 19 Compliance Agreement via PowerSchool for the upcoming school year by September 17, 2021. Click the link for more information:

Fall 2021 Return to School Guidebook

This is a working document, and as shared above, details are subject to change and updates based on guidance from the Governor’s office, NJDOE, NJDOH, local departments of Health and the CDC.

Free and Reduced Price School Meal Program Available to All Students for 2021-22 SY

SOMSD would like to announce that as we continue to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, the USDA has extended meal waivers for the upcoming school year and all District students will be able to receive free lunch at no charge for the 2021-2022 school year.

Although the District is providing free meals to all students who wish to participate, the Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals is still available and is used to determine eligibility for P-EBT benefits and state funding. We encourage you to complete the Free and Reduced Price Meal Program application for the 2021-2022 school year.

There are several options to complete the application – online or by printing the application, completing it & returning it to the district. Please see below for ways to submit applications:

  1. Fill out Application Online:
  2. Print and Mail: Download the application from the website and mail it to the Administration Building, Attn: Business Office, 525 Academy Street, Maplewood, NJ, 07040 (faxed applications will not be accepted)
  3. Pick-Up: Families can pick up paper applications at Columbia High School or Seth Boyden Elementary from 12 pm – 2 pm during Grab and Go lunch pick-ups

All students in the household must be included on one application. A new meal application is required for the 2021-2022 school year in the event that additional P-EBT cards are to be issued by the State of NJ. This must be completed by October 15, 2021.

If you received a Direct Certification letter from the District you do not have to complete an application.

Free & Reduced Lunch Application

The online application as well as PDF applications are available in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole on the website.

Registration Office Announces: Temporary Streamlined Registration Process to Expedite New Student Enrollment

Dear SOMSD Community,

Due to the large number of students enrolling in the District at this time, and in an effort to enroll students as soon as possible, the registration process is being temporarily streamlined. Therefore, all registration appointments have been suspended. New families to the District or families who are re-enrolling their children should follow the steps below to ensure timely enrollment of their child(ren):

  1. Complete the online application, which is available on the District's website under the tab "Registration".

  2. Once you have completed the online application, you must place legible and complete copies of the items listed on the Streamlined Registration Checklist in an envelope in the Dropbox located in front of the Board of Education (see below for the address). Do not enclose the original documents (birth certificate, lease, etc.) as attachments to your packet.
  3. Parents/Guardians will be contacted by the assigned school with a start date once the application has been processed.

NOTE: Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received. Be advised that it may take up to three school days or more to review the registration packet, as this requires a verification of residency documents, immunization records, scheduling, classroom placement, etc. In the event you do not have all the required documents, your child(ren) may be provisionally enrolled in school.

During this time period ONLY IF your packet is incomplete, the Office of Registration will contact you for an appointment and/or additional information. Failure to provide the required documentation by a given date may result in your child(ren) being removed from the District.

Regular registration appointments will resume on October 18, 2021.

Registration Drop Box

Monday-Friday, 9:00am-4:30pm

South Orange & Maplewood Central Offices

525 Academy Street, Maplewood

District Chromebook 1:1 Initiative

As part of the District’s goal of continuing to integrate the use of technology into our K-12 curriculum and cultivating 21st-century skills, the 1:1 Chromebook initiative will continue to provide all students with Chromebook laptops to use both during the school day and at home as part of our evolving teaching and learning process.

Please refer to the Fall 2021 Return to School Guidebook for information regarding the District's 1:1 initiative (starting on pg. 25), Chromebook distribution schedules, general expectations for use, and other important information. Please note students in grades 3 - 12 (who have their Chromebooks in hand) are expected to begin bringing their devices to school beginning on Mon., September 13. PreK - 2 families will be alerted when to start bringing in devices to school.

Information can also be found on the District's 1:1 webpage:


As we prepare to return to schools, we know that families have pre-planned vacation trips or maybe planning family trips with their child(ren) to wrap up the summer break and for the upcoming school year (during official school-mandated school breaks, i.e. fall break, Thanksgiving break, Holiday Recess). As such, we want to share the most recent travel quarantine guidelines for unvaccinated individuals as per CDC guidance, *NJ Department of Health, and input from our local Departments of Health. Please view previous correspondence from the District regarding travel quarantine guidelines:

Weekly Voluntary Covid-19 Testing Available @ CHS thru October 30

The District is pleased to announce that through our partnership with MediMobile, we will now be offering weekly voluntary COVID-19 testing at Columbia High School (CHS) Gymnasium Parking Lot, (on Valley Street). Testing is open to all District staff, students, SOMA community as well as any Essex County resident.

We encourage staff, students, and community members to get tested. As school is set to reopen, we especially encourage parents/guardians to have their child(ren) tested. MediMobile will provide testing every Saturday from September 4 - October 30 from 9 am - 1 pm.

  • PCR and Rapid (nasal swab) tests will all be available to anyone over 6 months old.
  • There is NO out-of-pocket cost to anyone.
  • Those with health insurance must bring proof of insurance and valid identification. Those without health insurance must bring valid identification and a form will be provided for you to complete.
  • No appointments are required.

There is also an upcoming mobile vaccination clinic that will be onsite at CHS, see below and visit the District's COVID-19 Testing/Vaccination page for all updates and upcoming clinics:

  • St. Barnabas Mobile Vaccination Clinic: Sunday, September 19
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SOMSD 2021-22 Student Code of Conduct & Restorative Justice

SOMSD Community,

As per Board policy the "Student Code of Conduct" is to be disseminated annually to all school staff, students, and parents. Click the link to access the and view the District's 2021-22 Student Code of Conduct & Restorative Justice booklet:

Covid-19 SOMSD Dashboard

It is the responsibility of the staff member who tests COVID-19 positive, or the parent of the student who tests COVID-19 positive to notify the principal who notifies the superintendent. The local DOH is notified and they conduct Contact Tracing.

Beyond the Bell After School Enrichment Program for Elementary Students Returns for Fall 2021

We are happy to announce that Beyond the Bell will be returning to elementary schools for the 2021-22 school year.

Registration will open starting on Tuesday, September 14. Visit the link for more information:

FOR PARENTS/GUARDIANS: SOMSD Provides Supplemental Accident Insurance for Students

Dear Parents and Guardians:

At the beginning of each school year, every parent/guardian is given the opportunity to purchase supplemental accident insurance for their children. There are three options available: At School Accident Insurance coverage, Around-the-Clock Accident Insurance coverage, and Dental Accident Insurance coverage.

Student Accident Supplemental insurance for our district is provided through New Jersey School Boards Association, underwritten by Berkeley Life and Health Insurance Company and managed by the Bob McCloskey Insurance (BMI) Agency for the 2021-2022 school year.

If you would like your child to participate in this program for this school year, please refer to the attached Student Accident Insurance flyer on the District's digital back webpage:

District SMS Text Messages

If you are a District parent/guardian and are not currently receiving District SMS text messages please visit the link above for information on how to opt-in.

Our Partners Are Hiring!

Our partners are currently seeking to fill part-time and/or full-time job opportunities. If you are looking for a job opportunity or know of someone looking for work please share the information below with them (see flyers below).

South Mountain YMCA

  • Our partners S. Mountain YMCA who offer before and after-care services are looking for talented staff to serve our members, program participants, and community. If you are looking for a new work opportunity, apply to the link below. If you know someone who would be a good addition to the South Mountain YMCA team, you are eligible to receive referral discount credits up to $500 to your account if you refer the candidate and they are hired! Please send the following link to prospective applicants to apply. A $500 sign-on bonus is being offered as well. Link:


  • Our food service provider, Pomptonian looks forward to welcoming our students back in September and offering them nutritious, tasty, and appealing meals each day. They are actively recruiting some new team members that are looking for a family-friendly schedule. If you are seeking a flexible and family-friendly schedule and the opportunity to work in the school nutrition program, Pomptonian Food Service wants you on their team. To apply for a position visit
Maplewood Health Dept Community Resource Newsletter

Upcoming events, resources for those affected by Tropical Storm Ida, Covid-19 resources and more for September 2021

SOMSD 2021-22 Calendar of Events