As a Matter of Fact!
SOMSD Newsletter: Back to School Edition | August 31, 2022
Superintendent's Return to School Welcome Message
We will soon begin our 2022-2023 school year with staff returning to school buildings and students walking our halls and studying in our classrooms. Thanks to the work of many over the course of the last two and a half years, we are finally moving toward a sense of full normalcy.
In the 2022-23 SY Return to School Guidebook what we hope you will notice is that we are transitioning, like most other school districts, with far fewer restrictions connected to COVID-19. We are hopeful that this transition will ultimately be to an ‘endemic’. In this back to school newsletter you'll find additional important updates regarding free & reduced lunch applications, Chromebook pick-up for new students, upcoming assessment/testing dates, report card & progress report dates as well as Covid tesing information.
Below is a summary of key highlights from the Guidebook:
All SOMSD school buildings PreK-12, buses and facilities, regardless of vaccination status, are now mask optional/friendly. District exceptions, where mask will be required, include:
- During large indoor gatherings
- For individuals returning to school after COVID positive isolation on days 6-10 - indoors and outdoors
- As recommended by the DOH (i.e., significant increase in transmission, outbreak);
- *Preschool partner site, Iris Family Center for Early Childhood Education who is requiring mandatory indoor masking to begin the school year.
Isolation is required for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and students/staff must stay home when experiencing symptoms of COVID-19;
Quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19 in schools and Early Childhood Education (CDC, August 2022);
The District will no longer provide remote access to our classrooms due to Covid-related absences. We are moving back to pre pandemic absence protocols, therefore, absences for Covid-19 will be handled like any other absences for illness, and school work will be provided as it would be in the case for any other illness or absence from school;
We will no longer maintain the weekly Covid dashboard of cases nor will we send school notifications for positive cases. If there is an outbreak in a SOMSD classroom or school or program, only the affected groups will be notified with public health guidance;
Weekly testing for unvaccinated personnel in school districts is no longer required (August 15, 2022, Governor Murphy signed executive order 302);
In addition to above requirements, parents may make masking and testing decisions for themselves and their children - in school and out in the community - understanding that they and their children could be exposed to COVID-19 at any time;
We are encouraging vaccinations.
As conditions change this guidance may be updated to reflect current state, agency and local health department recommendations.
I hope that you enjoy the last few days of summer. I look forward to serving you this year and I look forward to seeing you and partnering with you all during the upcoming academic school year.
Dr. Ronald G. Taylor
Superintendent of Schools
2022-23 SY Free & Reduced Lunch Applications
For the 2022-23 SY, the USDA meal waiver extension (which provided free meals to all SOMSD students for the 2021-22 SY) will not apply for the upcoming SY. For 2022-23 SY SOMSD will offer students healthy meals daily at a reasonable price:
- Elementary: $3.25
- Middle: $3.50
- High School: $3.75
Families may prepay for student meals through the Meal Pay Plus online payment system.
To Receive Free & Reduced Meal Benefits or the 2022-23 SY eligible families must complete a new free and reduced lunch application online: Free & Reduced Lunch Application
IMPORTANT NOTE: The free & reduced meal lunch application needs to be completed every year if families wish for their child(ren) to be considered for free/reduced lunch. Your status from the previous school year does not carryover from year to year.
2022-23 SY Chromebook Distribution Details for New Students
During the 2021-22 school year the District launched its Chromebook 1:1 initiative. For the 2022 - 23 school year, all students in grades K - 12 will be provided with a district issued Chromebook. Students in grades 3 - 12 must use district issued Chromebooks for state testing.
Chromebook Pick-up for New Students:
- The Technology Department will begin distribution of Chromebooks for students in Grades 3 - 12 during the week of August 29, 2022. Families can sign up for appointments to pick up their child's Chromebook using the link found on the district’s Chromebook 1:1 website. Distribution of Chromebooks for students in Grades K - 2 will occur during the month of October, depending upon device availability.
Chromebooks will be distributed at the district’s Technology Office. You must have an appointment to pick up a Chromebook. The district Technology office is located in the back of the building. The address is 525 Academy Street, Maplewood, NJ 07040.
Students who attended the district during the 2021 - 2022 school year and were assigned a Chromebook should continue to use that Chromebook during the 2022 - 2023 school year.
For more details visit: https://www.somsd.k12.nj.us/district/information-technology/1to1/
2022-23 SY Testing Assessment, Report Card, Progress Reports and Elementary Conference Dates
- SOMSD Community CLICK HERE to view/download the 2022-23 SY Testing, Progress Reports, Report Cards and Elementary Conference Dates.
DISTRICT REMINDER FOR FAMILIES
REMINDER: Sign-Up to Receive Text Message Updates & Reminder to Update Contact Information in School Messenger
Opt-In For Text Messages
In order to participate in the text messaging service, you must indicate your willingness to receive text messages to your phone, even if you received text messages this year. You must do this whether you have a child in the school system or belong to a community organization that wants to keep up-to-date with our alerts. To learn more about signing up for SMS text messaging visit: website: https://www.somsd.k12.nj.us/headlines/district-news/2019/12/16/sms-text-message-communications-from-the-district/
- September 1: All Teachers Report & Staff Development
- September 2: Holiday Recess—District Closed
- September 5: Labor Day—District Closed
- September 6: All Teachers Report & Staff Development
- September 7: All Teachers Report & Convocation Day
- September 8: First Day of School All Students Report: Grades PreK-12
- September 26 & 27: Rosh Hashanah - District Closed
- Thursday, September 29: Board of Education Monthly Public Board Meeting
Additional Information & Resources for the Community
- 2022-23 SY Return to School Guidelines, News, Resources & Updates
- District SMS/Text Messages
- Chromebook 1:1 District Initiative
- SOMSD Mental Health & Counseling Resources
- Student Discipline & Code of Conduct Policy
- SOMSD Intentional Integration Initiative (III) Microsite
- District Withdrawals/OOD Transfers