As a Matter of Fact!

SOMSD Updates - May 15, 2020 VOL. 1, ISSUE 10

Superintendent Taylor's SOMSD Weeky Wrap-Up Message

Curriculum & Instruction: Ramadan, Upcoming Light School Days

Dear SOMSD Community,

In light of the holy month of Ramadan for our Muslim community, Distance Learning, during Wednesday, May 20, and Thursday, May 21 will be considered light school days. Classes will be held and attendance will be taken, but no new learning will be introduced and no assignments will be due.

The conclusion of Ramadan will be either Saturday, May 23rd, or Sunday, May 24th (uncertainty due to lunar calendar). As a result, we have requested that teachers refrain from assigning work over the weekend; and that no assignments should be scheduled to be due on Tuesday, May 26th.

These light academic days would be an appropriate time for students to catch up on previously assigned work. If you have any questions please reach out to your principal or student's teacher.

For all who are observing Ramadan, we wish you, Ramadan Kareem!


Ann Bodnar

Director of Curriculum & Instruction K-8

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2020-2021 Preschool Registration Update

We hope that you and your family are well. Please allow us to provide an update of the District’s Preschool Education program and registration for the 2020-2021 school year.

As you may be aware, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) through the Division of Early Childhood and Family Engagement Office, awarded the South Orange and Maplewood School District, Pre-School Education Expansion Aid (PEEA) funding to expand our preschool program that was launched in the 2018-2019 school year. The primary goal of the PEEA is to increase access to high-quality full-day preschool for three- and four-year-olds.

As a District, we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to have access to quality Pre-K programs. The funding received through the PEEA supports the Board’s commitment to expanding access to a free high-quality preschool education program in 2020-2021 for children in our community. As such, this expansion will be accomplished through the placement of students at the District’s Montrose Early Childhood Center and includes our partners: Applecore Learning, La Petite, Zadie’s of the Oranges, Iris Family Early Childhood Education Center and KinderGan.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a major shift in our normal operations. Some of the early effects of this disruption are being felt, as a couple of our previously anticipated preschool partner sites now cannot commit to partnering in September 2020; thereby, lowering the number of seats we are able to offer for the 2020-2021 Preschool program. In addition, the pandemic may also affect the funding amount that we were awarded; in the coming weeks, we will learn of the state’s revised budget allocation to our District. If PEAA funding is reduced, this may also affect the # of new preschool placements that we are able to provide.

Read More.

Middle School Math Night Math Information Webinar Video

A recording of SOMSD's Middle School Math Information Webinar presentation from April 30, 2020, which was led by K-8 Supervisor of Math & Science, Kimberly Beane is now available for viewing. The video can be accessed here: SOMSD Middle School Math Information Webinar

SOMSD Community : Please practice Social Distancing & Wear Face Masks

While the state of NJ is still under a 'stay-at-home' order, if you are out, please remember to practice social distancing (at least six-feet) and to most importantly wear a face mask. To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect the capacity of New Jersey's health care system for the state's most vulnerable, the State of New Jersey has directed all residents to stay at home until further notice (which has been in effect since March 21st, will remain in effect in its entirety until further notice).

NJ Stay at Home Guidelines:

The order provides for certain exceptions (which are below), but in cases, where you or your child(ren) must leave your home, please remember to wear a face mask and to practice social distancing. The order provides for certain exceptions. New Jersey residents may:

  1. Obtain goods or services from essential retail businesses
  2. Obtain takeout food or beverages from restaurants, other dining establishments, or food courts
  3. Seek medical attention, essential social services, or assistance from law enforcement or emergency services
  4. Visit family or other individuals with whom the resident has a close personal relationship, such as those for whom the individual is a caretaker or romantic partner
  5. Report to, or perform, their job if it is an essential business and they cannot perform their duties remotely
  6. Walk, run, operate a wheelchair, or engage in outdoor activities with immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners while following best social distancing practices with other individuals, including staying six feet apart
  7. Leave because of a reasonable fear for one's health or safety
  8. Leave at the direction of law enforcement or other government agency

Face Mask Guidelines:

If you must leave your home, the CDC has recommended the use of cloth face coverings in community settings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. There is a growing body of evidence that asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals can spread the virus. In New Jersey, individuals must use a face covering when shopping at essential retail businesses, entering a restaurant or bar to pick up takeout orders, and when traveling on trains, buses, light rail, or paratransit vehicles.

How to wear a face mask
Cloth face coverings should---

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

Social Distancing Guidelines (reminder):

Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings

It is still not business as usual, and as we seek to keep our students and community safe, we encourage all of our SOMSD families to follow these orders with your children.

In addition, as a reminder, during our COVID-19 school closures, students are not allowed to congregate on any school properties. Students also cannot hang out in friend groups as normal especially on school property.

Additional Information & Resources for the Community

The School District of South Orange and Maplewood

A district that celebrates diversity!