Message to SBJC Families, December 2, 2020
December 2, 2020
Dear SBJC Families,
It is with the combined efforts of our SBJC students, families, faculty and staff that the doors to our campuses have been able to remain open for over three months. I have been a witness to the sacrifices and the challenges that our faculty and staff have faced in ensuring that our students learn in person. They are our frontline heroes!
Since opening school for in-seat learning on September 8, 2020, the South Bergen Jointure Commission has had 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19. As of the writing of this letter, there has been no transmission of the virus within our school buildings. With an increase in the number of cases around the county and country, we must continue to remain vigilant—and if possible, become more vigilant—in the steps we take to prevent this virus from spreading in our schools.
I’m communicating with you today to ask for your help in this matter.
Last week, the New Jersey Department of Health released an update to their COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for Local Health Departments for K-12 Schools. This update outlines some guidance for the closure of schools due to threats to public health. Some general notes:
The definition of close-contact has been changed to being within 6 feet of someone with suspected or known COVID for 15 or more minutes during a 24-hour period. Please note, this is a “rolling” 24-hour time period.
Students who live in the same house as someone who has symptoms and meets the COVID-19 exclusion criteria shall be excluded from school until the symptomatic individual receives a negative test result or the quarantine period ends, provided all symptoms have resolved.
When evaluating case spread and local outbreaks, we closely examine whether or not the positive cases are connected to each other and connected to our schools. More often than not, we are finding, through our contact-tracing, that the spread is linked to events and places outside of the school community. Specifically, indoor social events during the evenings and weekends.
We wish to continue with our in-person model but we need your help. With the winter months now here, we need to do everything we can to promote behaviors that reduce COVID-19’s spread. Last week, members of our Restart Committee met to discuss these three key factors that can only occur with the help of our SBJC families:
1. Avoid the 3Cs
Please be mindful of avoiding the 3Cs: Closed spaces, Crowded places, and Close-contact settings.
2. Stay Home When Sick
In order to keep our entire community safe, it’s important that your child stays home when:
- Your child is sick.
- Your child has been tested for COVID-19 and is awaiting results.
- Your child has been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.
- Someone in your home is being tested for COVID-19.
If your child is sick, please immediately notify the school nurse if your child test positives for COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms or a confirmed or suspected case.
3. Practice Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
For many of our students, instructional time has been dedicated to teaching hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette within the school setting. You can help us by practicing and reinforcing these behaviors with your child at home. Continue practicing and reinforcing correct handwashing (20 seconds with soap and water) as well as covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue (followed by washing hands or using hand sanitizer).
4. Practice Wearing Masks
Continue practicing the correct wearing of masks whenever the opportunity arises. The CDC highly recommends masks that are two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric. Gaiters or face shields are not recommended as their effectiveness is unknown at this time. Please visit our website for more information on how to promote these behaviors.
5. Avoid Travelling
Governor Murphy and the state of New Jersey strongly discourages all non-essential interstate travel at this time. Anyone travelling outside of New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware should self-quarantine for 14 days.
We ask that you please review these guidelines, that you practice these behaviors with your children as part of their daily routine, and that you reach out to us if you need support in the process. Our community is much stronger united than we are apart.
Dr. Michael D. Kuchar
Superintendent of Schools