From Millburn Superintendent Christine Burton:
Remote Schedule Monday and Tuesday
From the start of this pandemic, the school district’s core mission has been to provide for the health and safety of Millburn staff and students. On Thursday, November 19, the New Jersey Department of Health raised our COVID-19 Regional Risk Matrix level to “high risk” or “orange” level. The numbers of new and active cases in our community continue to show an upward trend over the last few weeks. We are now seeing the impact of those trends in our schools. Since last Thursday 6 of our 8 schools have been impacted with positive or presumed positive cases. We have received 296 requests across all schools to move from hybrid to remote as a result of concerns about community spread and the closure of the Middle School this week.
The Governor has restricted the number of individuals who can gather indoors and outdoors and attempt to bring the levels down as we go full-on into the cold and flu season. Additionally, the C.D.C. has strongly urged everyone to avoid travel and gathering for Thanksgiving weekend.
In anticipation of a weekend of holiday gatherings, travel, the return of college students, and in consultation with the Millburn Department of Health, as a precautionary measure, we will be operating all schools remotely on Monday and Tuesday, November 30 and December 1 next week. This will allow us to assess any increases in community cases and spread, assess our staffing and address any school-related contact tracing that will likely need to occur. As of now, all schools except the Middle School, will reopen for hybrid teaching on Wednesday, December 2, depending on the circumstances in each building and or the community at that time. The Middle School will reopen on December 7 upon completion of the 14-day quarantine.
Please alert your school nurse of any COVID symptoms or positive cases in your children or household, especially on Monday and Tuesday. We will be using that data to make informed decisions about the health and safety of our schools. Over the coming weeks, we may need to make adjustments like this to our schedule as we address outbreaks and surges that the virus brings to our community.
Contact Tracing and Quarantines
As explained in my letters yesterday, as a result of being at the high-risk level, we now have stricter requirements for quarantining and excluding students and staff. In addition to anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, anyone who presents with symptoms of COVID-19 must be treated as “presumed positive.” They in turn must quarantine for 14 days, as well as all individuals who have been in close contact with that person, or until the presumed positive person tests negative for COVID-19.
Per the new guidance from the NJ DOH (11/19/2020):
- A student or staff member is presumed positive when they present with 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; OR • at least one of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new olfactory disorder, new taste disorder. The DOH recommends that they be promptly isolated from others and excluded from school.
- 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.
- Siblings of a student who has symptoms and meets COVID-19 Exclusion Criteria should be excluded from school until the symptomatic individual receives a negative test result. If the symptomatic individual tests positive, the sibling will need to self-quarantine.
We know how important it is for our students to be in school. Whether schools can resume, and eventually expand, the hybrid in-person model in a sustainable way is partly dependent on the choices we all make as a community when we are away from school. I certainly understand and appreciate the desire for family and friends to want to get together over the holidays, especially given the fact that they many have not been able to see loved ones for many months. However, we must do so safely, responsibly, and in accordance with current guidelines. As health officials have stated, please socialize outside, wear a mask and stay six feet apart. Adherence to these practices will increase our chances of being able to continue with hybrid in-person instruction while keeping all of our staff and students safe.
Thank you for your continued support.