As Thanksgiving approaches, please know how grateful we are for your support for our schools. Because of the safe behaviors demonstrated by our students, community members and staff members, our schools have been able to maintain continuity of in-person learning even as community rates rise. So that we may navigate this changing landscape confidently, please consider the following information and guidance carefully.
Please remain safe over Thanksgiving so that we can continue to keep cases low
While this holiday season should be a time of celebration, all parents and students must recognize the health risks associated with Thanksgiving gatherings. Please remain diligent over this long weekend in keeping yourself and others safe.
To encourage and inspire continued diligence, please see the table below which shows a running total of staff and students cases since schools reopened. It is important to note that there has been no identified transmission within schools; each of the cases was linked by contact tracers to sources of exposures outside of school. These data appear to show that while community rates have risen at rates similar to our region, our schools have been able to operate without evidence of in-school transmission.
The region's new "High Risk" designation indicates that siblings should quarantine
While the "High Risk" level does not require schools to shift to remote instruction, it does trigger increased precautions. Accordingly, if a parent or student is experiencing symptoms and/or is getting tested for COVID-19, it is recommended that all members within the household remain home until the test results or the appropriate medical clearance is obtained. Any individual with questions regarding this information may contact Dr. Frank Santora, Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services at email@example.com.
Regional activity levels may necessitate a temporary shift to remote instruction
Regardless of our schools' abilities to operate safely, the current NJDOH guidance calls for all students to shift to remote instruction once the "Very High Risk" level is achieved in our region. I have personally requested that the NJDOH, NJDOE and the Governor's Office revisit this guidance to allow for continued in-person instruction, provided that transmission does not occur in school. Without a change in this guidance, our schools will need to shift all students to fully remote instruction for as long as the "Very High Risk" level remains in effect. If this occurs, parents should know that student schedules will remain unchanged. Learning will continue from home without interruption and in-person learning will resume when the region is no longer rated "Very High Risk."
District COVID Updates will take on a new format
In response to feedback from community members and the District Restart Committee, the district is designing a COVID-19 dashboard that will provide real time information regarding positive cases in our schools. Additionally, a new model of COVID-19 updates will be provided on a weekly basis with an improved, easy-to-read format. Please note that the current COVID-19 alerts that have been sent in response to each new case will be discontinued. We look forward to sharing this new communication model with you next week.
Thank you for taking the time to read this information closely. Your efforts are keeping all of us Madison Strong. On behalf of our team of district educators, best wishes to you and your loved ones for a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving.
*Editorial note: A prior release of this message stated that the case rates, "show that in contrast with regional rates, our school community is doing exceptionally well. " A follow up analysis of this data indicates that our school community rates have been similar to the region. Nevertheless, our safety efforts and responsible quarantining behaviors have effectively prevented transmission in school.