1/18/21 - 1/22/21

School News

Dear Essex Fells Families,

Thank you for your continued support to facilitate a healthy in-person school community! As we continue to navigate the pandemic and begin the vaccination process, I wanted to update you on the status of the CDC and NJDOH Guidelines that are being implemented as situations arise.

The New Jersey Department of Health has directed us to continue to follow the 14 DAY TRAVEL QUARANTINE for all staff and students, regardless of whether you have been vaccinated or have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 within the past 90 days.


Due to the increasing numbers of SARS-CoV-2 in New Jersey, The CDC has implemented stricter guidelines for schools with reference to the definition of a “close contact” and what to do if a staff or student has been exposed or becomes ill.

“A close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of someone with suspected or known COVID-19 for 15 or more minutes during a 24-hour period. Masks are not a substitute for social distancing. Masks and/or barriers do not preclude an individual from being identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case.”



Any sibling whose family member is being tested for SARS-Cov-2 must remain home until the negative test result is available. Below is the guidance from the NJDOH.

“Require staff and students to stay home when sick or if they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 within the past 14 days. If someone in their household is being tested for COVID-19 due to illness, students/staff should also stay home until the test result is received. Parents/guardians, students and staff should notify school administrators of illness and known exposure. “


Per our local DOH, any staff or student who has tested positive for SARS-Cov-2 within the past 90 days and has a subsequent exposure to a person who is found to be positive for SARS-Cov-2, will NOT be required to quarantine unless they become ill with Covid symptoms. However, any staff or student who has tested positive for SARS-Cov-2 greater than 90 days prior to an exposure to a SARS-Cov2 positive individual, will be required to quarantine for 14 days. Should either of these situations occur, kindly notify Nurse Renz and she will give you further guidance. If your child has previously tested positive for SARS-COV-2, you will need to provide documentation to Nurse Renz.


NJDOH recommends that individuals with the following symptoms remain home and contact their health care provider for a SARS-Cov-2 Test:

• At least two of the following symptoms: fever (measure or subjective), chills, rigors (shivers), myalgia (muscle aches), headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, congestion or runny nose;


• At least one of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new olfactory disorder, new taste disorder.

The Department of Health, in conjunction with the American Academy of Pediatrics notified the New Jersey Pediatric Practitioners of the following guidelines,

“In children, signs/symptoms (of Covid-19) are often mild, and it may not be possible to clinically distinguish COVID-19 from other illnesses. For this reason, the New Jersey Department of Health recommends that any child with COVID-19 compatible symptoms should not return to school until they have either received a negative viral test for SARS-CoV-2 or they have completed an isolation period of a at least 10 days since symptom onset and a t least 24 hours after resolution of fever without fever-reducing medications with symptom improvement.”

Our school policy is that any child with symptoms referenced above and his or her siblings, must stay home and need to see their Health Care Provider for a SARS-COV-2 test (while the rapid antigen test is helpful, the PCR test provides a more definitive diagnosis and is recommended). In order for your child to return to school we will need a negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR test to ensure the health and safety of our school community. Your child and their siblings must remain home until the results are available.

If your child tests positive for SARS-COV-2, your child must remain home for at least 10 days AND must be fever free for 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND symptoms are improved. Your child’s siblings must remain home and quarantine for 14 days, isolating from the child with Covid-19.


The Health of our community is reliant on each and everyone of us. Please continue to follow the mitigation strategies below to keep our school community healthy!

  • Wash Your Hands or use Hand Sanitizer when soap and water are not available.

  • Practice Social Distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from others).

  • Avoid gatherings with anyone outside of your immediate family.

  • Wear a MASK when you are not with people from your immediate family.

  • Refrain from touching your face.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is on Monday, January 18th and it will be a remote half day for all students. EFS has prepared an exciting day of cultural and social awareness activities for the students to engage in with their families.

Today each child was sent home with a schedule for the day, activity board and white canvas bag to be decorated and filled.

Please click below for additional copies of the information to print if needed.

(Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day)

Please send your child to school with their completed activity board and decorated filled bag on Tuesday, January 19th for the Student Council to donate to the Human Needs Pantry in Montclair.

TRANSERS FOR 2021-2022

For the 2021-2022 school year: if your child will not be attending EFS or West Essex Middle School (for current 6th grade students), please notify the school office in writing. See the transfer form attached. Sixth grade records will be sent to WEMS unless we have written parental permission to send the records to another school.

Transfer Form 2021-2022


Registration for Preschool and Kindergarten 2021-2022 will be available ONLINE this year for the first time. Registration will open the morning of January 25th with a link posted on the EFS website and will remain open thru January 29th. You will be able to enter all information directly into the system and upload all required documents. For Preschool, you will still need to mail or drop off a check for the $500 deposit made out to Essex Fells Board of Education.

Click below for more details on the programs.

(PK/K Registration)


Thank you for all your likes on our Instagram account! If you have requested to follow us and have not been accepted it may be because we cannot recognize your profile name. Please email Mr. Pannullo (mpanullo@efsk-6.org) or Mrs. Castellano (jcastellano@efsk-6.org) to gain access. Please know this is a secure account and only the parents and staff of EFS will be accepted.


All students will continue to go outside for lunch daily in addition to a variety of classroom lessons and gym. Please remember to send your child(ren) to school with their coats, hats and gloves to keep them warm. During school hours students are asked to maintain physical distance when playing on the fields, grass, and equipment. Students must follow lunch monitor rules during recess to insure the health and safety of EFS. After school, students may not remain on school grounds unless supervised by an adult. Physical distance and masks must be maintained at all times. Please follow these same simple rules when not in school for protection of everyone in Essex Fells and local areas.


The lost & found bin is overflowing. If you see any items that belong to your child(ren) in the pictures below please reach out to Mrs. Rivera in the main office.

Big picture

PTA Press


This year we will be hosting an online auction in lieu of our in-person spring event. We are in need of some fun and exciting donations. Examples of items that have done well in the past have included rentals, ski/snowboard resort packages, health and wellness, summer camps, and private sports sessions to name a few. We are looking forward to having a successful fundraiser. Auction will run April 19-22nd. More information to follow.


Thursday ice cream at lunch is back starting on January 21st for the remainder of the year! Order today for your child(ren) on MobileArq. Deadline is Sunday, January 17th.

Foundation News

The time is always right to do what is right." Martin Luther King, Jr.

We continue to be thankful for the hard work and dedication of all our teachers and school staff who put our children first in spite of the challenges imposed by COVID-19 and remote education. Thank you!

The Foundation is grateful to all of the EFS families and Donors who have participated in this year’s fundraising campaign. We have been overwhelmed by the support of the community and would like to remind anyone who would still like to participate that the campaign will remain open through June 30th. Donations large and small directly support our children and the school in so many important ways.

Want to make a difference? The Foundation is looking for parent volunteers. Please reach out to a member of our Executive Board, or send an email to effee102@gmail.com, if you are interested in learning more about joining the Foundation next year.


See below for audition and rehearsal information for Aladdin Jr.

Aladdin Jr. Information

Board Bits - January is Board of Education Recognition Month

Good Afternoon Essex Fells Parents-

We hope the new year finds you happy and healthy. In an effort to ensure a positive climate and culture at EFS we are reaching out today to make sure that all of you are aware of and understand the policies adopted by the Essex Fells Board of Education in December of 2020 regarding remote learning and parent communication with staff members.

As many of you know, we have a labor contract with the teachers that cannot be violated under any circumstances. The contract is there to ensure that EFS is practicing fair labor practice. It is the Board’s responsibility to ensure that parents adhere to the parameters of this contract, and that is what these policies are created to do. We are aware these are difficult times, but we cannot tolerate disrespect of our staff by students or parents, or have extra demands put on them any longer. Our educators have spent the last 10 months reinventing the way they educate the students of Essex Fells School and deserve everyone’s respect and gratitude for their unprecedented efforts to teach both remotely and in-person during this pandemic. If you have something to discuss with us as the governing board of the school, you are more than welcome to voice your concerns at a public meeting or email the Board directly.

If your child is learning remotely, the environment gives you and your family more flexibility in the hours that you do the work. Please remember that this does not give you the ability to extend the staffs’ work hours or duties. This means that if you choose to schedule an appointment during the school day causing your child to miss a live lesson, it is your parental responsibility to teach them the lesson yourself, just as it would be if they missed school in-person. If you and your child are unable to understand the lesson, you or your child should email the appropriate teacher during school hours to schedule a makeup lesson at the teacher’s convenience.

It is the anticipation of the BOE that we will be informed when there is a significant breach of our policy. Deviating from the policy is detrimental to not only the classroom teacher, but also to the students at large. The Board of Education is working with the Administration to determine how to proceed if policies are breached. There will be a board discussion in the public at next week’s Board of Education meeting if you would like to attend.

We appreciate you understanding that we write this email in order to ensure a healthy workplace for our staff, so that they can give your children the best education possible.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


Kris Huegel, Steven LoCascio, Amanda Haber, Raj Mehta and Ted Skopak

The Essex Fells Board of Education

The next Board of Education Meetings will be held virtually on the following dates:

  • Regular Monthly Business Meeting - January 20, 2021
  • Workshop Meeting - February, 3, 2021

New Policies:

  • P1648.05 Remote Learning Policy (P1648.05)

  • P9205 Communication between Parents and Staff Members (P9205)

For any Essex Fells Families who have recently moved within town, please update all information in the school office by providing three (3) proofs of residency: a deed, lease or tax bill; a photo ID; and a utility bill, all with your name and Essex Fells address. In addition, a signed residency/domicile status form, provided by the school, is required.

Upcoming Events

Community Outreach


Please help support the EF Garden Club and receive beautiful flowers at the same time!

Our Annual Plant Sale will take place on May 8th but you are able to Pre-Order amazing flower collections from Beds & Borders, located on the North Fork of Long Island. Pre-Ordrs are due by January 31st and will be delivered the week of May 3rd.

Please see the Brochure and Order Form below.

2021 Plant Sale Info

2021 Plant Sale Pre-order Form

B & B 2021 Catalog


The Tiny Treasures Before/Aftercare program has been suspended indefinitely at Essex Fells School.