Letter to the Community - August 16, 2021

Dear Bridgewater-Raritan Community,

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the last few weeks of summer.  My name is Robert Beers, and  I am proud to have been named the Superintendent of the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District.  It is an honor to lead one of the elite districts in the entire State of New Jersey, and I am looking forward to the start of the 2021-2022 school year.  
The purpose of this correspondence is to communicate the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District’s plans to reopen our schools for in-person instruction starting Thursday, September 9th, 2021.    
Earlier in the summer, Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Education released The Road Forward: Health and Safety Guidance for the 2021-2022  School Year, which states that “all districts must plan to provide full-day, full-time in-person instruction for all students for the 2021-22 school year.  

In August, the Center For Disease Control (CDC)  offered guidance for Covid protection in K-12 schools, which states, “children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.” Therefore, the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District plans to open schools on September 9th for full-day, in-person instruction with the following mitigation measures in place:  

Vaccination: According to CDC guidance,” Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic.” Twelve and older students are eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and are encouraged to procure a vaccine before the school year begins.  

Symptom Screening: All parents/guardians of students who attended school in-person last year are aware of the Daily Covid Symptom Screening that BRRSD and many other school districts had in place. This year, the responsibility of parents/guardians to monitor each child’s health remains in place; however, a daily form is not required.   Please be sure to screen your student before every school day and keep your child home if they show signs of illness. 

Masking:  As per the governor’s executive order 251, all public and private school students, educators, staff, and visitors must wear face coverings indoors for the start of the 2021-22 school year. Students and faculty must wear face coverings on all district transportation.  Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth while in use.  

Social Distancing: The Road Forward emphasizes that schools provide full-day, full-time instruction with lunches for all students. The document also states that distancing three feet when possible should be used as one mitigation strategy in classrooms, cafeterias, and other common areas. In BRRSD, we will structure our schools to have three feet of distancing when possible while also ensuring that all students benefit from full-day, full-time instruction.  

Ventilation: Beginning with the summer of 2020 and continuing through the present, extra attention has been given to ensuring that all school ventilation systems are working as designed. The classrooms at each building have been checked to ensure that all systems are operational. Any issues that arise during the school year will be addressed as a top priority.

Handwashing/Respiratory Etiquette: While not in place only during the pandemic, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette are essential mitigation strategies promoted throughout the school district. Handwashing or hand-sanitizing may be directed at routine times, such as upon arrival, before and after eating, and before and after using any shared equipment. Respiratory etiquette will continue to be taught to our younger students and reinforced with our older students.

Contact tracing and testing:  The Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District will collaborate with the local Health Department to the extent allowable by privacy laws and other applicable laws to confidentially provide information about people diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19. 

Medically-fragile students: The district understands that students may have medical conditions that will preclude them from attending school in person this upcoming year. If you believe your child has a medical condition that would warrant special consideration, we ask parents to email pduplay@brrsd.k12.nj.us. Please include “Medical Concern” in the subject line of your email. Once we receive your email, parents and treating physicians are required to complete two forms. When the district gets the completed forms back, we will forward them to our school physician to review the application and determine the need for home instruction.

The Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District is committed to providing full-day instruction for every student during the 2021-22 school year.  Although September will present challenges, collectively, we can work together to provide high-quality education utilizing the safest format possible.  Please look for more specific information about the start of the school year from your student’s principal, which will arrive within the week.  

Best Regards, 

Robert Beers
Superintendent of Schools
Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District