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Back to School: What Parents Can Expect This Fall

New Jersey is requiring all students to be back in school full-time for in-person instruction at the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Available data shows that learning while physically present in schools has not been associated with significant community transmission of the coronavirus. As a result, you should start preparing now for your kids to return to the classroom. However, schools and parents should anticipate potential updates. Keep up with the most up-to-date information on Covid-19 and school procedures in New Jersey.

Here are some things to expect when your children return to school this year.

1. Mask Wearing

Masks must be worn at all times both at school and on buses. When masks cannot be worn, such as while eating and drinking, 6 feet of physical distancing must be maintained between students and staff. This is especially important in common areas and during activities with increased exhalation, such as singing and playing sports.

2. Physical Distancing

Elementary students should maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance in classrooms when the region is at low, moderate, or high risk for coronavirus transmission. Middle and high school students should maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance during times of low or moderate risk and at least 6 feet during high risk. Be aware that older children have a higher incidence of transmission than younger children.

3. Sick Policy

Students and staff must stay home when ill. Unless fully vaccinated and asymptomatic, they also should stay home if they come into close contact with someone who has had COVID-19 within the past 14 days.

4. Health and Safety Precautions

Fully vaccinated teachers and staff should continue to follow current guidance to protect themselves and others. This includes wearing a mask, maintaining at least 6 of distance from others while in the community, avoiding crowds, covering coughs and sneezes, and often washing hands.

5. Flexible Learning Options

If a period of high coronavirus transmission occurs, districts may rearrange their school schedules to allow for the grouping of students. Or, they may implement hybrid learning environments to provide both in-person and remote learning. This way, the districts can arrange instruction based on changing community conditions.

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