Safety Protocols

Conditions for Learning & Safety Protocols

Our top priority is to create conditions that are designed to ensure the physical and emotional health and safety of all students, staff, and the larger school community.

The Restart Committee is charged with making recommendations for policies and protocols that are designed to keep students and staff safe when participating in learning onsite. Please note that these protocols are based on the current recommendations of the CDC, WHO, and NJDOH at the time of this publication. As a district, we will continue to meet the requirements put forth by, and prioritize the guidance received from, the NJDOH and NJDOE. If and when those recommendations change, we reserve the right to amend these recommendations to reflect any updated guidelines with no advanced notice.

The following sections speak specifically to the proactive steps we are taking to actively prevent the spread of infection. As such, we have developed protocols to address the following:

  • Encourage students and staff to stay away from school when sick;

  • Communicate reminders;

  • Limit physical contact;

  • Design our physical space and movement into and around this space in ways that minimize social contact;

  • Introduce and promote effective hand washing best practices;

  • Using soap and water and scrubbing for approximately 20 seconds before rinsing;

  • Using paper towels to turn sink handles and open doors before discarding;

  • Using alcohol-based sanitizer when hands are not visibly soiled;

  • Developing fixed schedules for hand-washing;

  • Ensuring that adequate supplies are available and in good functional condition;

  • Establishing plans to intentionally limit close contact between students;

  • Spreading desks and seating arrangements to conform with social distancing guidelines;

  • As appropriate based on the level of community transmission and the most up-to-date guidance from the NJDOH, public gatherings, such as Back to School Night, may occur remotely.

General Health and Safety Guidelines

In all stages and phases of pandemic response and recovery, we will comply with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), state (NJDOH & NJDOE), and local guidelines.

We will provide reasonable accommodations for staff and students at higher risk for severe illness and promote behaviors that reduce spread, such as social distancing, frequent hand washing, and the use of face coverings.

The Centers for Disease Control identifies the following individuals as those having a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19:

  • Older adults (aged 65 years and older);

  • Individuals with disabilities or serious underlying medical conditions, which may include:

    • Chronic lung disease or asthma (moderate to severe);

    • Serious heart conditions;

    • Immunocompromised;

    • Severe obesity (body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or higher);

    • Type 2 Diabetes;

    • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis;

    • Liver disease;

    • COPD;

    • Cancer;

    • Sickle cell disease;

    • Medically fragile students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs);

    • Students with complex disabilities with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs);

    • Students who require accommodations under a Plan in accordance with the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504 Plan)

For more information on this topic, please look at the information posted under the subheading Staffing found in the Logistics and Planning section of this document.

The following Board policies are in the process of being revised and forwarded for Board approval so that our policy effectively aligns with our reopening plans.

Please note, these are sample policies. These samples reflect the recommendations included in the NJDOE documentation. There may be additional considerations and revisions that are specific to our district.

Once our updated policies have been Board approved, the approved policies will be added to this document, and the sample policies will be deleted.

  • Visitors (1250), amended to prohibit most visitors during the pandemic recovery. Visitors may be admitted only upon the approval of the principal (this can be a blanket approval; for example, the principal may approve of inviting parents to attend IEP meetings in person) and must observe social distancing rules and wear face masks while in school.

  • Transportation Safety (3541.33), amended to include an overview of cleaning, disinfecting and social distancing measures outlined in the guidance for school buses.

Social Distancing

The health and safety of our students and staff remains at the epicenter of every decision we make.

With this charge in mind, we have created the following social distancing guidelines with facility access control in mind.

  • Classrooms, therapy rooms, testing rooms and small instructional spaces will be marked with maximum occupancy based each occupant requiring a minimum 3.0-foot radius: Teachers on duty and in the classroom will proactively remind students of maximum occupancy regulations in our restrooms, and social distancing practices in the hallway;

    • Classrooms will be set up with all desks spaced a minimum 3 feet apart whenever possible;

      • Each evening every surface will be cleaned and sanitized using a cleaner that continues to kill germs for a 24 hour period.

    • In cases where the size of the space does not adhere to the social distancing guidelines, other spaces will be utilized, such as conference rooms, empty classrooms, and outdoor learning spaces when weather permits.

  • Utilize separate entrances and exits to school facilities in ways that intentionally balance social distancing and security protocols;

  • Minimizing large group gatherings indoors;

  • Physical barriers utilized / installed, such as sneeze guards and partitions, particularly in areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least 3 feet apart (e.g., reception desks), and in spaces where any student or staff member resides who is unable to wear a face-covering due to medical condition and/or IEP/504 constraints;

  • The use of virtual meetings may be used when appropriate to minimize large gatherings.

  • Staff member duties may shift to ensure social distancing is respected at all times, particularly in the hallways, restrooms, and all aspects of this plan that are required to maintain the health and safety of our students and staff.


Our protocols for all personal protective equipment is intended to actively promote behaviors that reduce the spread of germs. All staff members will participate in documented professional development to ensure everyone is equipped to effectively carry out these protocols.

Please access this link for a detailed description of who should be wearing PPE, and under what circumstances this should occur.

  • Face coverings will be worn at all times by students, staff, and visitors, unless doing so would inhibit an individual’s health (please note, that bandanas and masks with valves are not recommended by the CDC, so these items will not be used);

  • If anyone is unable to wear a face covering due to a documented medical concern, that individual will be required to wear a face shield;

  • Students and staff will be permitted to wear their own appropriate face coverings that comply with all dress code requirements;

  • Replacement masks will be placed in each classroom and entrance for anyone who arrives without a mask, or is unable to continue wearing the mask they arrived wearing;

  • Reasonable accommodations will be made for any individual whose health would be at risk if wearing a mask who provides documentation of his or her medical condition, or disability as reflected in an Individualized Education Program precludes the use of face-covering;

    • Where face coverings are not possible due to IEP/504 or medical condition, barriers such as partitions will be utilized;

  • We will deny access to our building to any visitor refusing to wear a face-covering for non-medical reasons;

  • Our school nurses, staff members who have documented medical concerns, some of our one to one paraprofessionals (depending on job assignment), and any staff member involved in monitoring our isolation rooms will be provided with enhanced PPE. (eg:N-95 masks, gloves, face shields, gowns, and hand sanitizer, all but the face shield will be disposed daily);

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (>60% alcohol) will be available in each of the following locations:

    • In each classroom;

    • At entrances and exits of buildings;

    • Near restrooms;

    • At the entrance and exit of all large instructional spaces including the media center and the auditorium;

    • For classrooms that have existing hand-washing stations, these stations will be supplied with soap, water, and alcohol-based hand sanitizers;

    • Gloves

    • Each classroom will be supplied with a box of gloves that will be replenished regularly, these can be used by students and staff on an as as-needed basis;

    • Faceguards may be used at any time;

    • All contracted providers must adhere to the same screening procedures and health and safety protocols of our contracted employees.

    • SEL

    • Social-emotional learning (SEL) will be critical in re-engaging students, supporting adults, rebuilding relationships, and creating a foundation for academic learning;

    • All staff members should be working collaboratively and thoughtfully to plan for the well-being of educators so they can support the social and emotional well-being and learning needs of their students;

    • Students should experience a culture of warmth and welcome upon entering the building considerations for playing soft music during passing times, making sure students are warmly greeted and acknowledged upon arrival in the building and each learning space are just some of the ways we can create this environment;

    • The Guidance Department, under the direction of the Director, Lead Counselors and our Wellness Counselors will establish a Health and Wellness team focused on student and staff mental health and wellness;

    • Acknowledge and prepare for the potential trauma that staff and students have faced during the COVID-19 school closures;

    • Provide resources for staff and student self-care, including resiliency strategies;

    • This team will assess community partners to determine if there is a need for external support, and reach out to existing community partnerships to assess the potential for expanded work;

    • Evaluate staff mental health readiness utilizing questionnaires, surveys, and direct outreach;

    • Provide resources for staff self-care, including resiliency strategies;

    • Work with local agencies to understand and access newly available resources for student and staff mental health and wellness support;

    • Develop communication channels for district staff to address mental health concerns resulting from COVID-19;

    • Communicate with parents throughout our return to school transition information including: Understanding normal behavioral response to crisis, general best practices of talking through trauma with children, resilience strategies for children;

    • Provide school-level outreach to at-risk students (those with previously identified mental health issues);

    • Secure the procurement of additional mental health assessment services including crisis management support;

    • Encourage schools to implement a mental health screening for all students.

    • Establish ongoing reporting protocols for school staff to evaluate the physical and mental health status of staff and students;

    • Maintain mental health supports via on-going wellness assessments of staff and students;

    • Normalize feelings through forums and spaces for compassionate listening where students and school staff can share, discuss, and process their common experiences relative to COVID-19;

    • Proactively combat bullying/harassment, bias, and discrimination for any reason including suspected COVID-19 status.

Environmental Factors

    • Intense cleaning and sanitation will take place every evening to ensure our facility is ready for the next day’s cohort to arrive. All staff members will participate in documented professional development to ensure everyone is equipped to effectively carry out these protocols;

    • Minimize the use of shared objects. When this is not possible, cleaning will occur between use, depending on the object this may be done by either teachers, students and/or custodial staff;

    • Teach students and staff to use masks and protective equipment appropriately, to practice respiratory hygiene, and using/discarding tissues appropriately;

    • Stress the importance of keeping hands away from the eyes, nose, and mouth;

    • Develop a schedule for increased routine cleaning and disinfecting, especially of frequently touched surfaces and objects;

Identified frequently touched surfaces across our district include:

      1. Classroom desks and chairs

      2. Lunchroom tables and chairs

      3. Door handles and push plates

      4. Handrails

      5. Kitchens and bathrooms

      6. Light switches

      7. Handles on equipment (e.g. athletic equipment)

      8. Buttons on vending machines and elevators

      9. Shared telephones

      10. Shared desktops

      11. Shared computer keyboards and mice

      12. Drinking fountains

    • Sanitize bathrooms daily, or between use as much as possible, using protocols outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);

    • Require visitors and parent/guardians use their own pen for signing in/out;

    • Teach students and staff how to keep surfaces clean and disinfected;

    • Classrooms will be supplied with approved Pure Green 24 spray cleaners and an abundant supply of paper towels. Both students and staff will have access to this spray cleaner, and are invited to wipe down any item or surface they will be using. Our spray cleaner must sit on a surface for 4 minutes before wiping to ensure the area is being sanitized;

    • Steps will be taken to minimize the use of shared spaces whenever possible. In cases where a student will be sitting at a desk that was occupied by a different student earlier in the day, the following safety measures will be implemented:

      1. Spray cleaner, paper towels and gloves will be provided in each classroom; as has been the case since PHASE I, any student or staff member who wishes to wipe down a surface prior to use is welcome to do so

    • If a student or staff member is in the building, and later tests positive for COVID-19, we will be prepared to shut down all of the areas in the building that he or she accessed until full sanitation process to clean the area has been conducted;

    • Signage will be placed around school buildings to provide hygiene advice and reminders (CDC offers printable resources and hand-washing posters);

    • Hand-washing for 20 seconds or more should be encouraged at regular intervals, including before eating, after using the restroom, and after nose-blowing, coughing or sneezing;

    • Using paper towels to turn sink handles and open doors before discarding;

    • Developing fixed schedules for hand washing (particularly, for younger students);

    • Ensuring that adequate supplies are available and in good functional condition.

    • Ventilation

    • Our Director of Buildings and Grounds will attest to all of our indoor facilities having adequate ventilation in accordance with the following guidelines:

    • Recirculated air must have a fresh air component;

    • Filter(s) for A/C units must be maintained and changed according to the manufacturer;

    • When the weather allows, windows should be opened to allow for greater air circulation.

    • Bussing

    • Ensure the business office is collaborating with transportation vendors to implement a bussing plan that meets social distancing requirements (including pick-up, in-transit, and drop off) as well as adhering to all of the recommended cleaning and disinfection protocols;

    • Consider hiring additional staff members on each bus to screen students for sign of COVID-19 prior to boarding and monitor compliance with social distancing at bus stops and transit;

    • A majority of bussing throughout the district's three campuses is contracted out to private transporters. A letter is being sent to all transporters detailing the required cleanliness/disinfection, social distancing, and face coverings guidelines. Included in the communication is a flyer issued by the New Jersey Education Association regarding tips for school bus cleanliness and sanitation, and a Daily Cleanliness Guidelines Checklist to be completed by each bus driver. All reports of non-compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines will be addressed and pursued in accordance with the contract terms and conditions relating to following all transportation laws and regulations.

Clarifying our Cleaning and Sanitizing Process

Our custodial staff has been doing the following to effectively clean and sanitize all of our buildings. They are dedicated to maintaining the highest level of cleanliness to all our buildings in accordance with the practices and protocols associated with COVID19.

    • Staff will continue using Neutral Disinfectant (ES364) to clean and disinfect. This cleanser is an effective method against viruses (SARS CoV-2 COVID-19). This will be used to clean all high touch surfaces including desktops, doorknobs.

    • About eight (8) months ago our district purchased two (2) hospital grade disinfectant

    • Electrostatic Sprayers that sprays a disinfection solution, which air-dries. This device is used at night or early morning, and sometimes both, when no staff or students are present, as it gives off a smell similar to bleach, which may irritate some people.The custodial team has purchased six (6) more (Electrostatic Backpack Sprayers this device will disinfect a much bigger area more quickly, `also purchased (2) more smaller spray guns.

    • This tool is being used in the following ways:

    • Weekly spraying of locker rooms as needed or as needed

    • Hallway lockers - we rotate floors;

    • All bathrooms will be disinfected on the hour including the handles and faucets also seat covers will be readily available.

    • Central Office will be sprayed three times a week or more depending on usage.

    • Disinfectant wipes and cleaners, spray bottles and pumps with sprayers, meeting state standards for schools and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

    • All classrooms, offices and areas will have spray bottles of disinfectant, micro-fiber cloths, and pre moistened wipes.

    • All floors have been cleaned and waxed throughout the buildings

    • Formal professional training was provided to the Buildings and Grounds in disinfecting, cleaning, sanitizing and floor maintenance by an Independent contractor.

    • Thorough and frequent disinfecting of all touch points throughout the day


    • Parents will be required to screen their children for symptoms of COVID-19 each morning before school, but will not be required to submit a daily screening form via Genesis as was the case during the 2020-21 school year. Instead, parents will be asked screen their child at home and attest that they will report if their child has symptoms of COVID-19; is exposed to COVID-19 and unvaccinated or has not had a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 90 days; or has traveled and is unvaccinated or has not had a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 90 days. The COVID-19 attestation form will be sent via Genesis several times throughout the school year. Parents will report a change in status (i.e. symptoms, travel, close contact) to the nurse, Staff will report a change in status (i.e. symptoms, travel, close contact) to the nurse and their supervisor.

Sample Parent Attestation Form

    • Staff will be required to screen themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and attest that they will report if they have symptoms of COVID-19, are exposed to COVID-19 and unvaccinated or have not had a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 90 days; or have traveled and are unvaccinated or have not had a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 90 days. The COVID-19 attestation form will be sent electronically several times throughout the school year.

Sample Staff Attestation Form

Free-standing thermometers will remain accessible for individuals to utilize at their discretion.

Our plan outlines screening protocols, assigns appropriate staff, and provides necessary PPE. We have consulted with health officials to determine how to handle persons who display or develop COVID-19 symptoms. This plan aligns with what has currently been identified as best practice. We have also worked to establish processes for staff involved in screenings to report findings while respecting medical privacy laws.

We have set district-wide health guidelines that are aligned to CDC, WHO, and NJDOH guidelines. As such, these guidelines may change in accordance with any updated recommendations published by these organizations. All staff members will participate in documented professional development to ensure everyone is equipped to effectively carry out these protocols.

Contact Tracing

We will proactively communicate with our entire learning community to be on the alert for signs of illness in their children, and ask that students with any signs of illness are kept home. All staff members will participate in documented professional development to ensure everyone is equipped to effectively carry out these protocols. Additionally, an attestation form will be included in our welcome back to school documentation that informs parents of this protocol, and respectfully asks for their honesty and compliance in our quest to keep our learning community healthy and safe for all.

Response to student or staff presenting symptoms

If symptomatic:

If an individual presents as symptomatic, they are required to go for a COVID-19 test. Please note, in accordance with NJ DOE Guidelines, at-Home Tests: (1) Should not be used to determine whether symptomatic individuals may return to school (unless performed with direct healthcare oversight or performed in a testing laboratory)

Students shall provide proof of negative test to the school nurse before returning to school. Staff shall follow up with their direct supervisor and building nurse for further instructions.

Details for anyone who is symptomatic:

  • The individual should stay home if:

    • At least two of the following symptoms: fever (measure or subjective), chills, rigors (shivers),myalgia (muscle aches), headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, congestion or runny nose; OR

    • At least one of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new olfactory disorder, new taste disorder.

  • If the individual has come to school, and the above symptoms develop onsite, the following will occur:

    • The individual will be safely and respectfully isolated;

      • If a student, he or she will remain isolated with continued supervision and care until picked up by an authorized adult

      • As noted previously, the staff member supervising the isolation room will be provided with enhanced personal protective equipment

  • Anyone who stays home or is sent home with the above listed shall undergo a COVID-19 Test. Testing for COVID-19 is recommended for persons with COVID-19 symptoms by the NJDOH;

  • Anyone with the above listed symptoms will not be permitted to reenter the building until they have undergone COVID-19 testing and following has occurred:

    • Anyone with a positive COVID-19 test result: the person must remain in isolation for at least 10 days after onset of symptoms, until their symptoms have improved, they have had no fever without the use of medicines for at least 24 hours, and have obtained documentation of return to school clearance from their medical provider.

    • Students with a negative COVID-19 test result; no fever, without use of medicines for at least 24 hours.

    • Staff with a negative COVID-19 test result: no fever, without use of medicines for at least 24 hours, and must follow up with their direct supervisor for further instructions.

Response to student or staff who has tested positive for COVID-19:

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, he/she may not return to school until receiving medical clearance from a doctor. The student may engage in remote learning, if he/she is able, while at home. Days on which the child participates in remote learning will not count as absences.

Details for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19:

  • If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19

    • They must contact the school so that contact tracing protocols can be implemented by the school nurse;

      • The nurse will notify the local health department (LHD) as per the protocols outlined below

    • Persons who test positive for COVID-19, but who are asymptomatic should stay home for 10 days from the positive test result;

    • Will be required to present certification from his or her physician that the student is contagion free before returning to school.

Our school nurses will notify the Bergen County Department of Health when students or staff are ill and have potential COVID-19 exposure, are ill when COVID-19 risk level is high (orange), or when they see an increase in the number of persons with compatible symptoms.

Whenever the district becomes aware of or suspects that a student or staff member has had a positive COVID 19 test, both FERPA and HIPAA allow for sharing exposure information with anyone who spent a cumulative 15 minutes or more within six feet of someone who was infectious over a 24 hour period, even if the time wasn’t consecutive. During this contract tracing communication, confidentiality regarding the individual’s identity will be strictly maintained. Only as a result of a specified health or safety emergency* will the district reveal the name or test results of any individual student or staff member.

When this happens, the following steps will occur:

  • The nurse or designated staff member will immediately notify local health officials of a confirmed case by calling the local health department or the Bergen County Health Department (BCDOH), the building principal and the district superintendent;

  • The nurse or designated staff member will notify staff and families of close contacts in the school setting and complete the Contact Tracing Form and the Staff/Student Line List and forward to the BCDOH;

  • If the individual spent time in the building, whenever possible, any areas where the individual spent time will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected in accordance with DOH guidelines.

  • In working with NJDOH, decisions will be made to recommend quarantine to any or all of the following groups:

    • Classroom(s);

    • Full cohorts;

    • Building;

    • District

  • Proactive communication explaining the full or partial closure will be sent to our entire learning community;

  • If the student or staff member was onsite when he or she became symptomatic, all contaminated areas will be thoroughly sanitized before allowing any members of our learning community to occupy the space;

  • A contact tracing team from the local health department or the NJDOH calls anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is identified as a close contact of a case. They ask the person who tested positive for COVID-19 questions about their activities within a certain timeframe to help identify where they may have been exposed, and anyone else they may have had close contact with while infectious. Those contacts might include family members, caregivers, co-workers or healthcare providers. Close contacts of a known COVID-19 case are asked about symptoms, referred to resources for testing, and given recommendations to isolate at home if symptomatic or if asymptomatic and unvaccinated or have not been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 90 days, to stay home and monitor their health for a quarantine period, dependent on COVID-19 Regional Transmission Risk Level (CALI Score). See information regarding quarantine time in COVID-19 Quarantine Information)

*An example of a specified health or safety emergency might be something like the following scenario.

“A student with COVID-19 is a wrestler and has been in direct and close contact with other students who are on the team or who are in the school and have higher health risks, school officials may determine it necessary to disclose the identity of the diagnosed student to the parents of the other students. In these limited situations, parents and eligible students may need to be aware of this information in order to take appropriate precautions or other actions to ensure the health or safety of their child or themselves, especially if their child or they may have a higher risk of susceptibility to COVID-19 or of developing severe complications from COVID-19.” Employer Resources, Uncategorized by Porzio July 20, 2020

COVID-19 Quarantine Information:

  • Exposed close contacts who are fully vaccinated, or who have had a documented case of COVID-19 within the past 90-days and have no COVID-19 - like symptoms:

    • Are not required to quarantine, be excluded from school, or be tested following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19; however, being tested 3-5 days after exposure is still recommended.

    • Should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure.

    • If they experience COVID-19 like symptoms, they are required to notify the school nurse, isolate themselves from others, be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, including SARS-CoV-2 testing and inform their health care provider of their vaccination status at the time of presentation to care.

  • Exposed close contacts (close contact is defined as within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) of a confirmed case of COVID-19 that are unvaccinated or whom have not had a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 90-days will be required to quarantine for a period of time, dependent on COVID-19 Regional Transmission Risk Level (CALI Score) (see below).

Summary of Quarantine Timeframes if Identified as a Close Contact of Someone with COVID-19

• When COVID-19 transmission list is High or Very High: 14-day Quarantine

• When COVID-19 transmission risk is Moderate or Low: Return to school after day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring, OR after Day 7 if the individual tests negative with a viral test (molecular-PCR or antigen) between day 5-7 and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring.

Note: The specimen must be collected between day 5-7 (not earlier than day 5), but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7. The person should remain in quarantine until the results are received and are negative. If test results are delayed, quarantine should be continued until after Day 10.

**Please note, In accordance with NJ DOE Guidelines, At-Home Tests: should not be used to shorten quarantine from 10 to 7 days after exposure to a COVID-19 case unless performed with direct healthcare oversight or performed in a testing laboratory.

Students with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or that are required to quarantine, will be able to access their classes via Zoom.

The district has established protocols to maintain ongoing communication with local and state authorities to track current mitigation levels in our communities and report any positive COVID 19 cases in our district.

If traveling during the pandemic, you are required to adhere to any and all travel advisory restrictions if and when those restrictions are in place. These restrictions have been established to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To access the most current list please visit: . Please note, in the event that you are traveling to a state requiring you to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to NJ, and that state is removed from the list at some point during the duration of your trip, you must still quarantine for 14 days upon your return. This is also true in the event that a state is added to the list during your trip. In other words, if the state is added to the list before you have returned to NJ, you must quarantine for 14 days.

Full details, including the color coding associated with contact tracing according to regions from the Department of Health can be accessed via the Northern Valley Restart site under the dropdown menu labeled “MORE”, under the heading, “NJDOH Recommendations”.