CHS Principal: Soaring COVID Numbers Show District ‘Made Right Decision’ to Go Virtual

by The Village Green
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From CHS Principal Frank Sanchez, Dec. 27: 

Dear CHS Families

As you well know, many residents of South Orange & Maplewood were hit hard by COVID over the past two weeks. Our District numbers went from 45 to 181, with nearly 70 cases coming from CHS alone. When one considers that our highest number was 9 just a month ago, I think we all agree that we made the right decision to transition to virtual classes earlier than expected. We also shut down our sports program, canceling all practices and competitions until Monday, January 3rd when non-quarantine athletes can begin practicing.

Academically, we return from break on Tuesday, January 4th, continuing virtually. Our teachers will be ready to welcome their students back online and we will follow our regular nine-period schedule from 8 am – 3:02 pm. Clubs will be held virtually during this week. FREE LUNCH will be provided to all students who come to the CHS cafeteria from 11 am – 1:20 pm. In-person instruction will begin on Monday, January 10th.

To ensure in-person instruction continues the rest of the year, we will need to do our best against this new Omicron variant by following the COVID-mitigation strategies that work: vaccination (and boosters), hand hygiene, mask-wearing, and social distancing. I know we have already been vigilant, but we must continue to do so because our students need to return. In fact, as part of our Middle States accreditation, we will be researching the current youth mental health crisis that has been augmented by last year’s isolation. (Here are some resources we will be examining over the next few months before we kick off Middle States in the Spring.)

In the meantime, please review these key reminders

  • Click the following link for details on how to access Canvas (for students/parents); PowerSchool; and other technology-related needs:
  • Free lunch will be provided Tuesday – Friday during the virtual return starting on January 4th.
  • Our local MediMobile Covid-19 testing is canceled during Winter Break, but it will return on Wednesday, January 5th as usual at the BOE Offices on Academy Street.
  • The NJ Department of Health and Vault Medical Services have partnered to offer a free, at-home COVID-19 saliva test kit that is available to every New Jerseyan who thinks they need a test – even if you don’t have symptoms. Click HERE for more information.
  • If your child is absent (due to COVID or not), contact the CHS attendance line by emailing Ms. Alvarado at According to NJDOE, COVID-related absences are not excused, but we can excuse these absences at the building level as part of the appeal process. Please also keep documentation of any lab visits so that you are prepared in the event that your student exceeds the maximum allowable absences and needs to submit an attendance appeal.
  • You may want to have your child download the app, Docket, for easy to access vaccination records. Docket is a mobile app that makes it easier for you and your family to securely access your COVID-19 vaccination record. If you don’t have your vaccination card with you or have lost it, you can easily access your record through the app to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, as needed.

I want to thank you for your support and well wishes this past week. I hope all of our students who tested positive were as fortunate as we were in the Sanchez home. Please continue reading the CHS Update for December below to find out all the great things our students and teachers accomplished this past month.  — Frank

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