CHS Principal Urges Families to Get Vaccinated, Mask Up, Test Weekly, Report COVID Cases

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From Columbia High School Principal Frank Sanchez:

Dear CHS Families,

Please read through these important updates and reminders dealing with our building and District COVID protocols.

COVID Cases at CHS. You can always check to see the weekly SOMSD positive cases by accessing the SOMSD Data Dashboard. As you can see from the image below, there were 8 new COVID cases in District. We only had one case at CHS, so please continue following our mitigation strategies.

Reporting COVID Cases. If your child has a positive case or if your child is unvaccinated and is in direct contact with a COVID-positive case, then please contact me as soon as possible so we can begin our contact-tracing process and provide your child with our quarantining protocols. Hybrid Instruction would then begin, but it is only available for quarantine students, not those who miss school for other reasons.

Mitigation Strategy #1: Get Vaccinated. By executive order, all teaching faculty and staff will be vaccinated by the October deadline set by Governor Murphy. We also encourage all students to get vaccinated as well. The FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death due to COVID-19 and remain the leading way to protect your child, your family, and your community.

Under the current NJDOH guidance, students who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 vaccination may continue in-person learning even if they are identified as close contacts or after they have traveled outside NJ, NY, PA, DE, or CT (as long as they remain without symptoms). Therefore, we need you to answer the questions and upload proof of your child’s vaccination via the Secondary School Student Vaccination Google Form; if you do not, your child will need to quarantine if they become a direct contact with another CHS community member.

In addition to my own physical copy of my vaccination card, I have been using the Docket App to prove my vaccination (and those of my children). The app is connected to the NJDOH records, so it is super easy to get the information and you can even forward the documents via email or text.

Mitigation Strategy #2: Free Weekly Testing. SOMSD is proud to announce that the MediMobile mobile testing clinic will now be onsite at Columbia High School gymnasium parking lot, with extended hours, 9am – 3pm, until further notice to provide Covid-19 testing to the District and SOMA community.

PCR and Rapid (nasal swab) tests will all be available to anyone over 6 months old. There is NO out-of-pocket cost to anyone. Those with health insurance must bring proof of insurance and valid identification. Those without health insurance must bring valid identification and a form will be provided for you to complete. No appointments are required. We have averaged over 200 tests the past few Saturdays!

Mitigation Strategy #3: Wearing a Mask. Our students are doing a fine job with mask mitigation, but we do have to remind them occasionally to wear their masks properly. Please have your child pack a backup mask in their bookbag in case they forget their mask. (We have extra masks available at the front desk in case a student forgets.) Please remember that gaiter masks are not allowed (unless the student is wearing a proper mask underneath the neck gaiter).

SOMSD Parent Agreement. I hope you found these updates informative. If you still haven’t, you must sign the 2021-22 Covid-19 Parent Agreement.

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