Dear Hackettstown School Community Members,
I would like to take this moment and welcome you back to the 2021-2022 school year. While the school year of 2020-2021 seemed like no other before, the start of the 2021-2022 has presented flashes of what we once knew and new obstacles to overcome. Throughout the last eighteen months, our school community has met all of the life changing challenges presented due to the COVID-19 pandemic head-on and with resolve. Each of us continues to monitor and adjust in our personal and professional lives for the betterment of our families and communities. We have come to learn that aspects and practices, which took place and implemented throughout the heart of the pandemic, can and should still be utilized today. All of this commences September 2nd when our doors open for the first day of school.
My office encourages our students and school community to continue to maintain a learning space within their home should they be required to quarantine due to sickness and/or close contact tracing protocol. We anticipate this will occur throughout the school year and as we have learned, arrives without notice at all times of the day and evening. So please remain vigilant in your efforts to remain as healthy as possible and continue maintaining home equipped instructional space. Below are several items related to district function, operation, and facilities.
COVID Related Items
Masks: Under the Governor's Executive Order 251, all staff, students and visitors must wear a mask indoors for the start of the 21-22 school year as long as it does not inhibit an individual’s health. When the Governor revises the Executive Order to no long mandate masks indoors, the district will revert back allowing optional wearing practices. The Safe Return Plan has been revised to reflect both situations. All health related concerns should be addressed with the building principals.
Vaccine: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states “Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic.” The CDC recommends students ages 12 and older who are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccination are encouraged to do so prior to the beginning of the school year. The District will be requesting vaccination information from students and staff for contact tracing purposes only.
Contact Tracing: As defined by the NJDOH, a close contact is anyone who comes within 6 feet of a positive person for 15 minutes or more during a 24 hour period. Different from the 20-21 school year, the District will no longer quarantine entire classes but instead identify those individuals within the 6 foot mark.
Symptom Screening: The symptom screener checklist has been placed in the District’s Realtime portal. Please refer to the checklist frequently. If either staff or students have symptoms listed in the checklist, they should stay home. The District will no longer take temperatures upon student and staff arrival. This responsibility will shift to the staff member and parents for the 21-22 school year.
COVID Testing: The Hackettstown School District is pleased to announce our continued partnership with Lab-Q Diagnostics to ensure a healthy and safe school community environment. Beginning Wednesday, August 11th, and each Wednesday that follows, Lab-Q Diagnostics will be providing free of charge COVID testing for any student, parent or staff member of our school district who would like to be COVID tested. As it was last year, Lab-Q will provide a mobile, on-site testing center in the High School parking lot every Wednesday between the hours of 4 pm and 7 pm. Those students, parents, or staff members who would like to participate in weekly COVID testing will have to complete the registration form for submission the day of testing, along with possessing either a photo identification or insurance card. In addition, anyone who may have COVID- like symptoms can also be tested free of charge at the Lab-Q office located at 100 International Drive in Mount Olive. Their office hours are 7 am through 7 pm, seven days per week. If anyone would like an antibody test, Lab Q can perform the test at their offices in Mount Olive. A doctor’s prescription is required for this particular test. My office encourages anyone who may have COVID- like symptoms to be tested to ensure the health and well-being of not only yourself and family, but those who you come in contact with.
Social Distancing: The NJDOE is requiring schools to provide full-day, in-person instruction. The NJDOE is recommending 3 foot social distancing when possible this includes lunches and physical education classes. Each building will utilize their outdoor spaces whenever possible. The District will adhere to the recommendation of 3 feet and more if and where possible. If the Governor changes the recommendation of 3 feet to 6 feet, the District will pivot to an A/B full-day schedule for all buildings.
All air quality upgrades: The District has purchased and awaiting installation dates for purification systems to be placed in all classrooms, bathrooms, cafeterias, gymnasiums, and nurse offices district wide. The Middle School’s 2 and 3rd floors, as well as the High School, will have new window A/C units installed in the very near future. We are hopeful that this will occur prior to the start of the school year.
Before and After School Programs:
For the 21-22 school year, the District will bring back the breakfast club program at each school and the Catholic Charities After-School Program at Willow Grove and Hatchery Hill.
Breakfast clubs will start 1/2 hour prior to the start of each school. Students may participate whenever they would like.
For Catholic Charities program, parents should contact them through their website www.catholiccharitiesusa.org
The driveway at Willow Grove School and Hackettstown High School parking lot were paved this summer.
Projects still in progress are as follows:
Projects still in progress are as follows:
Hatchery Hill School will have two new playgrounds. Installation should be complete by early November
Willow Grove School and Hatchery Hill School will each have two learning Cottages allowing for a total of four new classrooms. Installation should be complete in October
Security surveillance/L.E.N.S. additions for the Learning Cottages and Morrison Field and Bollard placement at Hackettstown High School will be completed as soon as possible.
Building principals will be disseminating specific information related to their buildings and programs separately in the coming weeks, prior to the official start of school. On behalf of the Board of Education, I would like to take this moment and thank all members of our school community for their never-ending patience and support.
David C. Mango
Superintendent of Schools