SBSD Safe Reopening Plan


LEA Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Service Pursuant to the Federal American Rescue Plan Act, Section 2001(i)

Introduction and Background

As announced in the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE)’s April 28, 2021 broadcast, in March 2021 President Biden signed the Federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, Public Law 117-2, into law. The ARP Act provides an additional $122 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) to States and school districts to help safely reopen, sustain the safe operation of schools, and address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s students. As with the previous ESSER funds available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), the purpose of the additional funding is to support local educational agencies (LEAs) in preparing for and responding to the impacts of COVID-19 on educators, students, and families. Additional information on ARP ESSER may be found in the NJDOE’s funding comparison fact sheet.

Section 2001(i)(1) of the ARP Act requires each LEA that receives ARP ESSER funds to develop and make publicly available on the LEA’s website, no later than 30 days after receiving ARP ESSER funds, a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services for all schools (Safe Return Plan) A Safe Return Plan is required of all fund recipients, including those that have already returned to in-person instruction. Section 2001(i)(2) of the ARP Act further requires that the LEA seek public comment on the Safe Return Plan and take those comments into account in finalization of the Safe Return Plan. Under the interim final requirements published in Volume 86, No. 76 of the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE), an LEA must periodically, but no less frequently than every six months through September 30, 2023, review and, as appropriate, revise its Safe Return Plan.

Pursuant to those requirements, LEAs must submit to the NJDOE and post on their website their Safe Return Plans by June 24, 2021. The NJDOE intends to make LEA ARP ESSER Fund applications available in EWEG on May 24, 2021 and LEAs will submit their Safe Return Plans to the NJDOE via EWEG. To assist LEAs with the development of their Safe Return Plans, the NJDOE is providing the following template.

This template incorporates the federally-required components of the Safe Return Plan. The questions in the template below will be included in the LEA ARP ESSER Fund application in EWEG. LEAs will submit responses to the questions within the LEA ARP ESSER Fund application in EWEG by June 24, 2021. The NJDOE hopes that this template will allow LEAs to effectively plan for that submission and to easily post the information to their websites as required by the ARP Act.

Note that on May 17, 2021, Governor Murphy announced that upon the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year, portions of Executive Order 175 allowing remote learning will be rescinded, meaning that schools will be required to provide full-day, in-person instruction, as they were prior to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The NJDOE and New Jersey Department of Health will share additional information regarding State requirements or guidance for health and safety protocols for the 2021-2022 school year as it becomes available.

Template: LEA Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services


LEA Name: South Brunswick School District

Date (mm/dd/yyyy):06/16/2021             Date Revised (mm/dd/yyyy):

1. Maintaining Health and Safety

For each mitigation strategy listed below (A–H), please describe how the LEA will maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff and the extent to which it has adopted policies, and a description of any such policies, on each of the following safety recommendations established by the CDC.

A. Universal and correct wearing of masks

The following link discussed proper mask wearing for elementary students via a video by a South Brunswick School District nurse:

The following link discussed proper mask wearing for Middle and High School students via a video by a South Brunswick School District nurse:

The South Brunswick School District requires masks to be worn by all staff and students during the school day unless there is a health related concern or disability in which wearing a mask is not possible for a student or staff member. Staff and nurses ensure that masks are being worn properly and provide replacement masks to those who need them. There is also signage at every district location at entry points and in common hallways advising staff, students and visitors to wear their masks at all times. The only exception is while eating, during this time, staff and supervised students continue to adequately socially distance to protect against transmission. The proper use of masks was outlined in detail in the district’s Restart and Recovery Plan, this 104 page document was submitted to the state in August 2020 and was shared with all district staff in the opening days of early September.

B. Physical distancing (e.g., including use of cohorts/podding)

Schools in the district allow for social distancing within the classroom to the maximum extent practicable. This is achieved by ensuring students are seated at least six feet apart. Even in a classroom setting where social distancing can take place (e.g., chairs are 6 feet apart) or physical barriers are in place, face coverings are still required until either Governor’s orders, Department of Health or CDC deem it no longer necessary. All instructional and non-instructional rooms in schools and district facilities comply with social distancing standards to the maximum extent practicable. Social distancing is also maintained during lunch or snack breaks supervised by staff. Future physical distancing requirements for in person instruction will be determined after additional guidance is provided from the NJDOH and/or Governor. The district has been able to safely and successfully conduct in person instruction for all students who wish to attend while maintaining a safe environment.

C. Handwashing and respiratory etiquette

The following link discussed germ transmission, proper mask wearing, handwashing and social distancing for elementary students via a video by a South Brunswick School District nurse:

The following link discussed germ transmission, proper mask wearing, handwashing and social distancing for Middle and High School students via a video by a South brunswick School District nurse:

For classrooms that have existing handwashing stations, stations have soap, water, and hand sanitizers. Hand sanitizer has also been placed throughout all district buildings easily accessible to staff, students and visitors. Training was also provided to staff on proper hand sanitizing/washing practices.

D. Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation.

Enhanced cleaning procedures and practices were outlined in detail in the district’s Restart and Recovery Plan, this 104 page document was submitted to the State in August 2020 and was shared with all district staff in the opening days of early September.

All South Brunswick School District indoor facilities have adequate ventilation, including operational heating and ventilation systems. Recirculated air has a fresh air component, windows are opened to gain additional ventilation if necessary. A/C unit filters are maintained and changed according to manufacturer recommendations. Also, during recent ventalation upgrades, ionizing scrubbers were installed that remove and kill 99.4 percent of contaminants going through them. South Brunswick School District employs trained HVAC staff who are available to monitor and service all systems 24/7.

Facilities Cleaning Practices

In response to the pandemic, the South Brunswick School District implemented a schedule for increased cleaning and disinfection. These are targeted areas to be cleaned with specific methods and materials to be used. This includes routinely cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that are frequently touched including but not limited to:

  • Cleaning objects/surfaces not ordinarily cleaned daily (e.g. door knobs, light switches, classroom sink, handles, countertops).
  • Use of all cleaning products according to the directions on the label. For disinfection, EPA-registered disinfectants are used.
  • Properly following the manufacturer's instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g. concentration, application method, and contact time, etc.).

Examples of frequently touched areas in schools cleaned on a daily basis are:
  • Classroom desks and chairs.
  • Lunchroom tables and chairs.
  • Door handles and push plates.
  • Handrails.
  • Kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Light switches.
  • Handles on equipment (e.g. athletic equipment)
  • Buttons on vending machines and elevators.
  • Shared telephones.
  • Shared desktops.
  • Shared computer keyboards and mice.
  • School bus seats and windows.
  • The sanitizing of classrooms and bathrooms daily

Bus / Vehicle Cleaning:
  • Contracted Service Providers must adhere to district expectations to promote a standardized cleaning plan performed after each route. A cleaning record is to be maintained and initialed by the driver.
  • Clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., seats, seatbacks, floors, windows) used by persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces with district approved cleaner.

E. Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments

The South Brunswick School District implemented COVID Central, which was comprised of our School Safety Specialist and a School Nurse. This was the team who reviewed staff member inquiries specific to travel, exposure, or symptoms. In order to meet the needs of our staff and students, covid issues are addressed immediately during and after school hours to ensure a safe school environment. Covid Central also works closely with the Middlesex County Health Department, this involves reporting positive cases as well as discussing different NJDOH guidelines and protocols to ensure the district is in compliance.

F. Diagnostic and screening testing:

As outlined in our 104 page Restart and Recovery document, the South Brunswick School District makes every effort to ensure that staff and students arriving at our schools are healthy and those who become symptomatic during the day are immediately treated by a school nurse who in turn makes recommendations for proper medical care and if necessary quarantines the individual as per the NJDOH guidelines.

A proactive screening process each school day helps the district maintain a safe and healthy learning environment. The school district adopted policies regarding the screening procedures for students and employees upon arrival at school or work location for symptoms and history of exposure. The district also has a health screening process for any visitors. These screening procedures include the following:

  • Screening Procedures for Staff - All staff members are required to fill out the district's electronic self assessment medical form each day before arriving at their school and report to school only when they are in good health.
  • Screening Procedures for Students - When children arrive at school, each principal assigns staff to designated entrances. When students exit their bus or personal vehicle, they are required to have their face coverings in place. The only exceptions are for health reasons where the parent has communicated this exception to the principal prior to the student arriving at school. Staff at entrances provide masks to students who have arrived at school without one.
  • School officials encourage parents to be on alert for signs of the illness in their children and to keep their child home when they are sick. Parents are required to assess their child's condition prior to sending them to school each day and fill out an electronic self assessment form which is forwarded to the school district indicating that their child is symptom free. At the direction of the Superintendent, trained staff may also be instructed to administer a screening process involving temperature checks. Staff monitor children for overt symptoms of any infectious illness and direct those students who show symptoms of illness to the school nurse for treatment. This is done in a discrete manner as to not embarrass or draw attention to the child. Health checks are conducted in a safe and respectful manner, in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations and account for any accommodations that may be needed for students with disabilities. The school nurse is not assigned as an initial entry screener in order to remain available to tend to students' needs. The school nurse documents when signs/symptoms of COVID-19 are observed and will safely and respectfully isolate the student who will remain in isolation with continued supervision and care until picked up by an authorized adult.
  • Students and employees will be asked to leave or not come into school if they test positive for COVID-19, have a temperature reading at or above 100.0 degrees fahrenheit or exhibit one or more of the symptoms of COVID-19, based on CDC guidance, that is otherwise not explained. Visitors to any South Brunswick School District location are required to fill out a medical form and require a temperature check.

    Covid Symptoms
    A fever of 100° F or greater
    Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    Repeated shaking with chills
    Muscle pain
    Sore throat
    New loss of taste or smell
    Congestion or runny nose
    Nausea or vomiting

*Symptoms may be deleted or added to based upon CDC guidance.

G. Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible

January 6, 2021: Superintendent email to district staff with link to pre-register for the Covid vaccine at the NJ website. This was followed by multiple emails with possible links for vaccine appointments. A staff survey was administered to determine the remaining need for vaccine support, 86% responded. In addition, the South Brunswick School District offered staff members two vaccine days to use for appointments and/or side effects instead of using sick or personal time. The District also coordinated with local health care providers to offer vaccines.

H. Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies

Students must wear face coverings even when social distancing can be maintained, unless doing so would inhibit the student's health. It is also necessary to acknowledge that enforcing the use of face coverings may be difficult for young children or individuals with disabilities. Accommodations for students who are unable to wear a face covering are addressed according to that student's need and in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Exceptions to the Requirement for Face Coverings
  • Doing so would inhibit the individual's health.
  • The individual is in extreme heat outdoors - only as approved by the Health Dept.
  • The individual is in water.
  • A student's documented medical condition, or disability as reflected in an Individualized Education Program (IEP), precludes the use of a face covering.
  • The student is under the age of two and could risk suffocation.

Reasonable accommodations will be provided for individuals that the CDC identifies as having a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults (aged 65 years and older) and individuals with disabilities or serious underlying medical conditions. Health checks are conducted in a safe and respectful manner, in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations and account for any accommodations that may be needed for students with disabilities.

2. Ensuring Continuity of Services

A. Describe how the LEA will ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to services to address students’ academic needs and students’ and staff’s social, emotional, mental health, and other needs, which may include student health and food services. (1000 character limit) The South Brunswick School District continued to provide a quality academic program for its students throughout the 2020-2021 school year through consistent course and program offerings. Intervention services were preserved despite staffing challenges. Extracurriculars were maintained at the high school level and when safe to do so were introduced at lower grade levels. For example, by Spring 2021, the middle school athletic program was competitive when earlier in the year it was intramural opportunities. Mental health services continued to be available for students at all levels and programs available for staff well-being were promoted. Food services have been promoted through our district and school newsletters. Meals were available for distribution and sent home with in-person students as well.

3. Public Comment

A. Describe how the LEA sought public comment on its plan, and how it took those public comment into account in the development of its plan. Note, the ARP requires that LEAs seek public comment for each 60-day revision to the plan. (1000 character limit) Throughout all stages of pandemic planning the South Brunswick School District used its Board of Education meetings to present and seek public comment. In addition, virtual forums were offered for staff and parents to hear plans, ask questions, and offer suggestions. Families received surveys from our district asking about re-entry several times during the summer and school year. Student focus groups also convened at the secondary level. Finally, we created a District Re-Entry team that included community members, staff, and parents.

B. Describe how the LEA ensured that the plan is in an understandable and uniform format; is to the extent practicable written in a language that parents can understand or, if not practicable to provide written translations to a parent with limited English proficiency, will be orally translated for such a parent; and upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability as defined by the ADA, will be provided in an alternative format accessible to that parent. (1000 character limit) This will be posted on our website, which can translate to other languages. If a parent asks for assistance learning