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Letter to EPS Community - Coronavirus Update - 12-22-21

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December 22, 2021

Dear Elizabeth Public Schools Learning Community,

I hope this communication reaches you in good health as we approach the holiday recess and the end of the 2021 calendar year. While looking forward to 2022 with hope and optimism for a healthier and prosperous year, we will undoubtedly face new challenges and uncertainties that will require all of us to be flexible.

As a reminder, all district schools and administrative offices will be closed December 24th through January 2nd.

In recent days and weeks, we have seen a rise in positive cases in our student and team member populations and the need to exclude more students for the purpose of quarantine. It is our intent to ensure all staff and students are healthy and prepared to enjoy the holidays and winter break as best possible.

At this time, we are planning to resume full in-person learning when school resumes for students on Monday, January 3, 2022. However, if COVID-19 cases surge over the holidays, we may receive new guidance from the New Jersey Department of Education and New Jersey Department of Health. We will continue to follow their guidance on school operations, while continuing to consult with local health officials and medical experts, and keep you informed of any changes.

Taking these factors into consideration, students will be bringing their laptops home for the holiday recess in the event we need to transition to virtual learning in January.


Updated Exclusion Guidance from NJDOH
The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) recently updated their guidelines. The most important update reduces the exclusion period for individuals who are close contacts of staff or students who tested positive for COVID-19 and who are asymptomatic. In this case, the exclusion period is now reduced to 10 days (or 7 days with negative test results collected at 5-7 days) with the continued monitoring for symptoms through 14 days after exposure.

Holiday Recess COVID-19 Protocols
In order to uphold our shared commitment and responsibility of keeping our learning community as safe and healthy as possible, please adhere to the below protocols related to testing positive for COVID-19 during the holidays and out-of-state holiday travel:

  • If anyone in your household tests positive during the holiday recess, please email your designated School Nurse and the Principal/Supervisor.
  • If your family is traveling out of state during the holidays, please notify your designated School Nurse to determine if quarantine is required.

Please continue to refer to the Elizabeth Public Schools 2021-2022 District Calendar as you make any plans that could impact your child’s attendance.

Assistance Scheduling a COVID-19 Vaccination
If you need assistance scheduling a COVID-19 Vaccine appointment, please reach out to your designated School Nurse, visit the NJ COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Finder, or contact the NJ Vaccine Call Center at 855-568-0545. For more details about receiving assistance with scheduling a vaccine appointment, visit the New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub.

In closing, I want to say thank you for your contributions and support that has made possible welcoming back students to in-person learning this school year. For nearly two years, we as a community have experienced the unimaginable. Our ability to surround our students with caring educators and social and emotional supports in safe and familiar school environments is a vital part of helping them through these challenging times.

Through the holiday season and into 2022 as the pandemic continues to evolve, we must all be extra vigilant in doing our part to help keep ourselves and those around us safe.

We remain committed to keeping our school doors open – as long as we can do so safely. The pandemic has dramatically changed everyday life as we knew it, but what it has not changed is our promise to ensure every child achieves excellence. We will continue to work tirelessly and do everything in our power to keep our students and team members safe while keeping schools open for our students to thrive.

In closing out 2021, I wish you all a healthy, joyous, and safe holiday season and a healthy and rewarding new year.


Olga Hugelmeyer