Special Edition: Phase 4/5 Updates
SOMSD Newsletter "As a Matter of Fact" | April 23, 2021
Dear South Orange & Maplewood School District Community,
Phase 4 of our phased-in reopening plan will continue as scheduled beginning on Monday, April 26. We will be welcoming back to schools our 8th and 12th-grade hybrid students and our PreK - 2 students (as well as our Special Services self-contained, ELL) will begin attending school in combined/consolidated cohorts, five days a week. In addition, earlier this week, Principal Sanchez shared with the CHS community that they were able to consolidate three cohorts into two, so starting on Monday, April 26, the high school will be operating a new cohort schedule guaranteeing each cohort will be in each week!
During our Monday, BOE meeting we shared additional updates regarding Phase 4 & 5 reopening. I am sharing a video update and providing additional information regarding details of our families’ hybrid selection; reopening phase-in; ventilation upgrades; partition usage to assist with social distancing; YMCA childcare; and a breakdown of the demographics of those families who selected hybrid vs. virtual selection.
Some key highlights of the presentation include:
Close to 70% of families have selected Hybrid, with elementary choosing hybrid at a higher percentage: PreK 74%; Elementary 75%; Middle Schools 66%; CHS - 59%
We have come to an agreement with SOMEA regarding mechanical ventilation and have purchased more than 200 air purification units that are being disseminated and will result in many more classrooms and instructional spaces being available for our Phased Reopening.
In accordance with the recent CDC and NJDOH guidance*, we have purchased individual partitions for each of our hybrid elementary students. This does not mean that each student will utilize a desk partition daily, but it is a fail-safe to assist our teachers in efficiently organizing our classrooms in the safest and most age-appropriate way (as well as to accommodate for instances for larger class sizes where 3-feet social distancing may not be possible).
As we move into Phase 4, we look forward to welcoming our 8th and 12th-grade students back to their school buildings on Monday.
More information is shared below regarding a new Hybrid Waitlist Consideration, Summer Programs Interest Survey for K-12 students as well as access to the Phase 4&5 Reopening presentation.
Dr. Ronald G. Taylor
Superintendent's Phase 4/5 Reopening Update Video Message
Parent/Guardian Summer Program Interest Form - Deadline, Monday, April 26
We are currently planning multiple summer programs for our K-12 students. This survey will help the District gather information on parent/guardian interest in having their child(ren) attend our summer programs. The information gathered will also guide our decisions in staffing, materials, and number of classes needs. Please fill out (1) survey per child who will or might attend a summer program. Days and times are subject to change slightly. We will close this survey on Monday, April 26th.
Click here to access the form: https://bit.ly/SOMSDSPSurvey
New! Hybrid Instruction Waitlist Consideration Form - Deadline, Friday, April 30
SOMSD families as we have shared throughout our reopening process, as a District we have had to remain nimble as we receive guidelines from the federal, state, and local levels. With the changes to our Phase 4 & 5 reopening plans, we understand that some families who had chosen to remain virtual or missed the final March 25 change request deadline may still desire the opportunity to have their child complete their school year in person. Therefore, we are providing an opportunity for families to be placed on a hybrid instruction waitlist.
- Completion of this form does not guarantee placement for in-person schooling, your child will be waitlisted and as we monitor Phases 4 & 5 if another hybrid instruction opportunity is presented, your child will be considered for in-person instruction based on the monitoring guidelines share below.
- We are not promising that we will be able to accommodate additional change requests;
- You must submit (1) form for each child
Filling out this form means that should another hybrid opportunity arise, your child will be considered for in-person instruction based on the monitoring guidelines shared. As we monitor both Phase 4 & 5 reopening efforts: including # of students who actually attend in-person, operational logistics, space availability, # of COVID positivity cases, and other factors, we will make a determination if we are able to open up in-person opportunities to families who have requested to be added to this waitlist by the deadline. All families who desire to be placed on the waitlist (even if you have reached out to your building principal should fill out this form).
The deadline for waitlist submissions is Friday, April 30.
Click here for the form: bit.ly/SOMSDWaitlist
Please view a list of mental health resources and support available to District students both internally and via external sources.
The SOMSD Covid-19 Dashboard will be updated weekly and will track and reflect positive cases of both virtual and in-person staff and students
School Highlights, Shout-Outs and In the News!
South Mountain Elementary Celebrates Earth Day 2021 Video
Shout Out Corner: MMS in AP News
View the full story and video: Click Here
All updates and resources regarding the District's January 2021 return to in-person instruction.
SOMSD Calendar of Events
- Mon., April 26: Phase 4 Reopening Begins (8th & 12th-grade hybrid students begin in-person instruction)
- Fri., April 30: SOMSD Hybrid Instruction Waitlist Form Deadline
- Mon., May 3: Phase 5 Reopening Begins (Grade 3 - 5; and remaining middle school and CHS hybrid students begin in-person instruction)
- Mon., May 3: Special Public Session - Budget Hearing, 6:30pm
- Mon., May 10 - Virtual Board of Education Meeting - Public Session, 7:30pm
- Mon., May 17: Special Public Session, 7:30pm