Columbia High School to Go All-Virtual Starting Wednesday, December 22

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From the South Orange-Maplewood School District:

Dear Columbia High School Community:

The health and safety of our students is our priority. Therefore, under the recommendation of our local health departments (both Maplewood and South Orange), to protect the health of staff and students, we must temporarily shift Columbia High School from in-person instruction to virtual instruction.

Due to a  “considerable uptick” in [COVID-19] student cases across all grade levels at CHS, staff absences and the # of absent and quarantining students, beginning on Wednesday, December 22, ALL students and staff will transition to all-virtual instruction for the remainder of the school week.

We understand this may be a hardship for some of our families and can be disruptive to student engagement; however, the health and safety of our students and staff is paramount. Currently our local community transmission is high and the cases are rising. To prevent the possibility of additional cases we are moving to a virtual learning format.  At this time, students will return to classrooms after winter break ends as scheduled on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.

Your child will follow their normal/typical academic schedule during virtual learning and should sign into their CANVAS account to access assignments and google meet links for their classes.  Students who do not join their class via the google meet link will be marked absent.  Some additional important information is below:

  • All after-school clubs will be held virtually;
  • Athletic events will be handled on a case-by-case basis with the Athletic Department contacting each coach and booster club;
  • Bagged to-go school lunches will be provided at the cafeteria doors and available for pick-up during students’ normal lunch hours on Wednesday, 12/22 (Thursday, 12/23, is an early dismissal day so lunch will not be served).

If your child develops any COVID-19 symptoms, please contact your health care provider and request the child be tested for COVID-19. Find COVID-19 testing sites:  The District’s MediMobile COVID-19 testing will be open on Wed., December 22 from 4 pm – 6 pm, at the BOE building, 525 Academy Street, Maplewood, District Meeting Room. (Note:  Due to the holiday break, MediMobile will NOT offer testing on 12/25, 12/29 or 1/1). Please visit [] for more information on testing and vaccination.

Your actions will affect how well our community prevents the spread of the virus. Please remind your child(ren) to take these steps:

  • Wear a mask in indoor public settings;
  • Limit their interactions to a small circle of friends and family. It is recommended to test prior to any large gatherings, especially if it includes anyone who is high risk.
  • Keep your distance from others. Wear a mask when you cannot maintain social distance;
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you are experiencing symptoms.
  • Wash your hands, cover your cough, and keep up your best hygiene and sanitation.
  • The District strongly encourages vaccination; if your child is not yet vaccinated, please consider doing so.

The District will continue to monitor numbers and is consulting with our  local health officials and school health nurses to make any changes to our protocols and delivery of instruction if needed based on the numbers of positive cases. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding.

South Orange & Maplewood School District | Columbia High School, Frank Sanchez, CHS Principal

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