August 31, 2021
Dear OESJ Parents/Guardians,
I hope everyone is enjoying what remains of the beautiful weather that the summer months are providing us. Unfortunately, we continue to deal with a great deal of uncertainty in regards to the COVID-19 virus. We have modified our reopening plan for the 2021-2022 school year but kept health and safety at the core of our mission. We strongly believe our finalized reopening plan reflects that.
OESJ is planning for a 100% in-person return to school in September, providing a full academic program and a wide range of extracurricular and athletic offerings for all students. Our priority is to have all students attend in-person instruction for the entirety of the 2021-22 school year. The District will not be offering a remote only option. If families do not want to send their children to school for in-person learning, their option is to provide home instruction. For more information on home instruction visit the following link (page 15 of this document – https://www.oesj.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Elementary-Student-Handbook-21-22.pdf.) If your child is out due to illness it is expected that they make up the work when they return. If a student is out due to quarantine, we will provide options for that child to stay up to date with their school work.
The District will employ a layered mitigation approach to prevention, including strategies ranging from masking and social distancing, to facilities cleaning and hygiene, to contact tracing and quarantining, to HVAC (ventilation) and the provision of food services, to surveillance testing and vaccination access. As a public institution, we must consider everyone in the community and minimize the risk for our students and staff. By individually doing our part to keep everyone safe and healthy, we will ensure academic, social, and emotional growth of our students.
We recently received from the NYS Department of Health relating to the guidelines for the school year. Below is a summary of the information of the plan. The complete reopening plan for the 2021-2022 school year can be found on the homepage of our website at www.oesj.org in the banner at the top of the page.
It is important to understand that this is a fluid document and whenever possible and appropriate, adjustments to mitigation strategies will be made according to the most current data available and in coordination with both the local and state DOH. These are challenging times and we are all similarly focused on the best interest of our students, staff, and families. Please regularly check our website for updated information and possible changes. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s building principal or the District Office.
Opening Day and Hours:
The opening day of school will be Wednesday, September 8th. More information will be coming from the individual building principals. The hours at each school will be:
- 7:57 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. at the Jr./Sr. High School; doors will not open until 7:45.
- 7:45 a.m. to 2:35 p.m. at the Elementary School.
The proper wearing of masks will be required in all indoor settings in the OESJ CSD regardless of vaccination status, pursuant to the state Department of Health commissioner’s determination part 10 NYCRR 2.60. We will have masks available if needed. As we have stated on numerous occasions, this is a very fluid situation and can change at any time per the NYSDOH. We will be at a minimum of 3 feet of social distancing and 6 feet where we can, allowing mask breaks as needed. We will continue to follow proper hygiene and hand washing and have hand sanitizer in classrooms and certain locations in the hallways. Proper hand washing and hygiene is one of the best prevention strategies. Masks are required on all school transportation at all times.
We will maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students in classrooms, in combination with universal indoor masking. Mask breaks will be provided when 6 feet of social distancing can be maintained.
We expect all parents/guardians to assess their child(ren) at home each day. If your child(ren) has any cold or flu symptoms, please keep them home. Students who come to school with any symptoms will be evaluated by our nurse and, if necessary, sent home immediately. It may be required for your child to be cleared by their primary physician to return to school if symptoms persist. If your child has symptoms longer than 24 hours, please see your physician.
Athletics and Extracurricular Activities:
At this point there will be extracurricular activities and athletics. There will be random testing for all high risk sports (ex. volleyball in the fall). We will test 10% of the athletes who participate in high risk sports each week and athletes must participate in that random testing process in order to play the sport. If a student is vaccinated and shows proof of that vaccination, they do not have to test. Masks are required for all spectators inside and are optional when outside. Four spectators will be allowed per athlete at home contests for volleyball.
Sign in, screening, and masks will be required for all visitors. Visitors will be admitted by appointment only. Masks are also required for all functions that take place inside our schools, but they are not required for outdoor functions.
We had all hoped that this year would be different from the last-and it’s important to acknowledge that we have seen small gains. We must look toward the positive and keep focus on the health, happiness and growth of our students. Together, we can make this year a success!
Superintendent of Schools