Our scheduled move to full remote learning for all students will conclude today.  Based on our review of the weekly COVID 19 Activity Level Report and discussions with our local departments of health, we are excited to welcome hybrid students back on Tuesday, January 19. 

What is the status of COVID cases in HVRSD?
The vast majority of our in-district cases have involved either fully remote students or students who were self quarantining due to exposure outside of school.  To date, we have had no in-school transmission of the virus. Our community has worked exceptionally hard to uphold all safeguards while providing a meaningful educational experience, both in-person and virtually. As a result, the district’s case rate remains significantly lower than the local, state, and county numbers. You may track our cases on our HVRSD COVID dashboard.

Your cooperation and adherence to our guidelines remain critical to our ability to resume a safe in-person program for our students and staff.  Please take the time to review and to familiarize yourselves with our newly revised screening guidelines.  Hybrid students must complete the daily screening form before coming to school each day. Most importantly, please be sure to contact your school nurse if any of these factors below apply to your child and/or family.

Screening Reminders
Students and staff should stay home if: 

  • They have tested positive (viral test) for COVID-19 or are awaiting test results (even if there has been a negative rapid test).
  • Someone in their household is being tested for COVID-19 due to illness or has COVID-like symptoms.  All siblings in the household who attend HVRSD must stay home (they may return if that person’s test results are negative).
  • They are exhibiting any COVID-19 compatible symptoms. All siblings in the household who attend HVRSD must stay home.
  • They have been in contact with a person with COVID-19 or COVID-like symptoms in the past 14 days or have had potential exposure to a person with COVID-19.
  • To ensure the safety of our students and staff, HVRSD maintains a 14-day travel policy.

Will There Be Any More Planned Closures?
We do not anticipate another scheduled move to full remote learning for all students. Any future move to remote learning will be due to school-based, in-person cases. While many school districts follow the New Jersey Department of Health guidelines, which permit a school to remain open if they have a confirmed case, we have taken a very conservative approach to deal with confirmed COVID cases in HVRSD.  

When it is determined that a case exists in a school, we will close that school for a minimum of one to two days to complete contact tracing and deep cleaning. Additionally, we have decided to notify our entire school community when we learn of cases involving remote students and staff, even if those infected were not present in our schools during their infectious period or when the test results were received.  These cases do not necessitate a school closure.

What Happens Next? 
Our goal remains to return to a five day a week, full-day instructional program this school year. As we begin to plan for our next phase, we will hold focus groups for our fully remote families over the next few weeks. We will reach out to our remote only families next week with dates and times for our Zoom meetings. We will also assemble another return to school committee. We expect that Presidents' Day weekend and spring break will be our next targets to make any changes. 

Mental Health Supports 
We recognize that many of us were hopeful for a transition to a more traditional school experience by this point in the school year. We also recognize the impact this has on our families and students. Please take the time to speak to your children about their mental wellness and any issues they may be facing.  As a district, we will continue our work with teachers, school counselors, and staff to support the mental health and wellness of our students. Additional metal health resources for our families include the following:

  • Our district website has a Help and Hope link with mental health and prevention resources.  
  • Please contact our tip line via telephone 609-737-4000 x 8477 (TIPS) or email tips@hvrsd.org (Emails to staff may not be answered in a timely manner over the summer).  For an emergency, please call 911.  
  • Our counseling department has developed a list of resources for families. This, as well as additional information, is available from our district website. If you need any support, please reach out to your building principal or school counselor; we are here to help.
  • Starting Tuesday, January 19, our counselors and student assistant counselors will begin brief presentations highlighting counseling supports for students in grades 6 - 12.  

We value the trust that you have put in us to provide a meaningful education in the safest environment possible for our students and staff. As we continue on this journey, you have my continued commitment to providing timely and accurate information as soon as it becomes available.

Thomas A. Smith, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools