Starting February, Unboosted SOMSD Students 12+ Must Quarantine After Close Contact

by Courtney Plaza
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Beginning February, all South Orange-Maplewood School District students ages 12 and above must have the COVID-19 booster shot, or will be required to quarantine upon close contact with a positive case.

This decision, said Supt. Dr. Ronald Taylor at Monday’s Board of Education meeting, aligns with the New Jersey Department of Health, which recently changed its close contact quarantine guidance in accordance with CDC recommendations.  (See pages 11-12).

“As of January 19, the NJ Department of Health [has] changed the close contact quarantine guidance,” Taylor said. “This is very important and timely. Beginning in February, individuals ages 12 and above who have not received a booster shot will need to quarantine after being identified as a close contact.”

More detailed information on this update will be released shortly, Taylor said. Meanwhile, parents should wait for further communication on the issue before uploading their child’s booster information to the district website.

SOMSD recently shortened its quarantine period to five days for unvaccinated students who are a close contact; starting next month, the 5-day quarantine will also apply to students 12 and up who are unboosted.

“We want to encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated of course, and to get boosted, for your health and the health of our community,” Taylor said.

Vaccinations and booster shots are available at the Sears in Livingston, Kmart in West Orange, and Essex County Parking Deck in Newark. The hours are Thursday to Friday from 9am to 7pm and Saturday from 8am to 2pm.

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