Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,
As you may know, our region of the state (Somerset, Mercer, and Hunterdon Counties) moved from being a “moderate risk” zone to being a “high risk” zone for COVID-19 at the end of last week. This shift for our area means that we must all continue to closely follow guidance from the New Jersey Department of Health about how to keep our families and community safe.
Fortunately, we can report success with our safe reopening of the schools for hybrid instruction. Though COVID-19 has impacted many families within our school community, the spread has not happened at the schools. Therefore, our local health officials do not recommend the closing of Bridgewater-Raritan schools even with this designation of our region as a “high risk” zone. This is a testament to the vigilance, professionalism, and dedication of our teachers and staff. I want to take this opportunity to recognize and thank every individual who has contributed to our collective success as a school district.
The purpose of this communication is to inform you that although BRHS shifted to full remote for 14 days, reopening on December 2, no additional closures are planned at this time. With that said, school closures may be necessary in the future. I would ask that each family develop a plan as there likely would be a short amount of notice given with any closure announcement. As always, we will make these announcements to staff and families as soon as we have the information. There are three scenarios that I would like to briefly outline for your information and reference.
- If the rate of COVID-19 continues to increase and our region moves from being a “high risk” zone to a “very high risk” zone, the Department of Health would direct all districts in our region to move to full-remote instruction. NJDOH Guidance for Schools
- If an individual school had two or more positive COVID-19 cases that were not related to each other through contact tracing, our local health officials would contact the NJ Department of Health. This may result in a recommendation that the individual school shift to full-remote instruction for 14 days.
- If an individual school had a large percentage of staff members quarantining or otherwise absent AND there was an insufficient ability to cover those classes through our substitute teachers and other available staff members that could be temporarily reassigned, that individual school could temporarily switch to full-remote.
To access current information about COVID-19 in our school district, please go to the COVID-19 Dashboard located on the front page of our website. The chart reflects the total number of positive cases by school since October 12th and also includes a column for the total number of positive cases in the current week. Rest assured that you will be contacted directly if it is determined that you have been impacted by any positive cases.
As always, we appreciate our community’s support and cooperation. We urge you to assist us by remaining vigilant in your approach to dealing with this health concern. One of the most important ways that you can do this is to quarantine when necessary. Even if your holiday plans do not involve travel outside of the state but put your family in close contact with individuals that are not in your household, you may choose to self-quarantine your children. You can do that by letting the school main office and teachers know that your child will temporarily be participating in full-remote instruction.
For more information on the travel advisory restrictions, the list of restricted areas, and the CDC notices, please refer to the links provided below.
NJ Travel Advisory List
CDC Travel Notices
Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season,
Dr. Thomas Ficarra
Interim Superintendent of Schools