April 8, 2022
Hello SOMSD Community,
The District’s Spring Break is from April 11 - 15 and we know that many families have planned a well-needed vacation. However, returning from spring break free from the effects of COVID-19 and the ability to complete the school year without reinstated restrictions requires us to remain vigilant.
After a return from any extended break the District tends to see a spike in COVID-19 positivity in our school community. With our return to school on Monday, April 18 we are asking that families who are traveling to consider testing their children prior to their return to school. If the test is positive, have your child stay home and follow isolation guidelines for the positive case and quarantine guidelines for the household contacts. If your child has COVID-19 symptoms or is sick, we encourage you to please have them stay home and seek a COVID-19 test. Please email your building principal and school nurse if your child tests Covid-positive, however, note they may not be able to respond until Monday, April 18.
In addition, while the District is now ‘mask optional' for our K-12 schools, buses and District admin buildings/offices, we would recommend considering having your child wear a mask to school during our first full-week back from spring break. We suggest this as a precautionary measure; however, it is ultimately at the discretion of parents/guardians to make a decision for their child(ren).
We understand the level of concern regarding COVID-19; and we encourage parents and students to continue following the CDC and NJDOH promoted safeguards, such as:
- Getting vaccinated and boosted as eligible;
- Staying home when you are sick;
- Considering wearing a mask while in public settings;
- Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitizer;
- Covering coughs and sneezes and properly disposing of tissues;
- Limiting close contact with people who are sick and not sharing food, drinks and utensils;
- Practicing social distancing to the greatest extent practicable; and
- Continuing to monitor your health for symptoms. Get a laboratory PCR or Rapid test if you have symptoms.
We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable break.
South Orange & Maplewood School District
REMINDER: MediMobile Covid-19 testing testing will be canceled during Spring recess. Testing will resume on Wednesday, April 20.
March 29, 2022
Dear South Orange & Maplewood School District Community:
It is with deep regret that we inform you about a recent loss to our school community. On Tuesday, March 29, we received confirmation of the death of a Columbia High School (CHS) student. Out of respect for the family, currently, we are unable to share additional details of the student’s death. However, we understand that this loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions not only for our students, but also for members of our staff and parent community.
The South Orange & Maplewood School District and CHS have a Crisis Intervention Team made up of professionals trained to help with the needs of students, parents, and school personnel at difficult times such as this. The crisis team at CHS has been mobilized to respond to this tragic event. Throughout the remainder of this week and the coming weeks, there will be counselors available for any student who may need or want help or any type of assistance surrounding this loss.
As this tragedy will affect all of us in different ways, we have included some information below that may be useful to you in helping your child at home as well as resources to help the community in general. We are saddened by the loss to our school community and will make every effort to help you and your child as you need. We encourage you, as parents, to also feel free to use our resources.
- SOMSD Mental Health Resources: https://bit.ly/SOMSDMHResource
- Talking to children about death: an age-by-age guide: https://health.choc.org/talking-to-children-about-death-an-age-by-age-guide/
- Helping Children Cope With Grief: https://childmind.org/guide/helping-children-cope-with-grief/
- Grief Support & Resources: https://bit.ly/3iHVc1b
We ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time and keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Dr. Ronald G. Taylor, Superintendent of Schools
Cc: Frank Sanchez, Principal, Columbia High School