South Orange-Maplewood School District Commits to Full Return to In Person Instruction For Fall 2021 – For Now

by The Village Green
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From the South Orange-Maplewood School District:

Good Afternoon SOMSD Community,

The state of NJ and the NJ Department of Education has mandated that every NJ Public school district will reopen schools to in-person instruction for all students for the 2021-22 school year, returning to pre-Covid normal school days that will include lunch and that will address the needs of ALL students.  A brief video presentation led by Superintendent Dr. Ronald G. Taylor along with Julianne Porter, RN, CSN, SOMSD Lead Nurse provides high-level information to help families prepare for Fall 2021 return to school.

As the District Reopening Task Force works on finalizing and fleshing out the nuanced details of our September reopening, the District is solely following state guidelines (with input from our local health department), and unless the mandate changes, we are moving forward with preparation to have all students in school full-time (five days a week).  Below are the key points highlighted in the “Fall 2021 Safe Return to School” presentation led by Superintendent Ronald Taylor:

  • We are planning for full-day, five-day a week in-person instruction, with normal pre-Covid school hours;
  • All students will be back for full-time, in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 school year (no cohorts will be in place);
  • Parents or guardians will not be able to opt children out of in-person instruction as allowed for the 2020-2021 school year;
  • All students and staff will be required to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status;
  • Because we cannot maintain a social distance of 3-6 feet (one strategy to mitigate virus transmission) and still offer full-day in-person instruction, we will prioritize other mitigating strategies, including masking and desk partitions where feasible;
  • Screening testing:  Unless directed by the DOH, screening testing will not be mandated.  COVID-19 testing site information will be posted on the district website, and available at​  The District has investigated the availability of mobile testing units and home Covid test kits for voluntary use and will provide the community with updates if confirmed;
  • Parents/Guardians will be asked to e-sign the 2021-22 SY Parent Agreement Letter of Compliance with COVID-19 Guidelines, deadline, September 17 (a separate email will follow in the coming weeks); and
  • Schools will reopen on September 9th: Grades PreK-7/9 and September 10th: Grades 8/10-12.

A more detailed return to school guidebook will be provided to families before school reopens for the fall.  Continue to enjoy the summer and be safe.

South Orange & Maplewood School District



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