August 14, 2020 – New additions to NJSBA’s School Restart Resource Center include detailed guidance from the state Department of Health, the governor’s Executive Order allowing school districts to open with all-virtual instruction, an article on school district liability, and updated district policies related to the pandemic.

COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for Local Health Departments for K-12 Schools Detailed guidance from the state Department of Health (released 8/13) addresses illness in the school setting, closing of schools, cleaning/disinfecting, actions when a student or staff member test positive, daily symptom screening, and other factors. It also establishes a “risk matrix” based on transmission rates and other health data that will guide school districts in determining if in-person instruction can continue and to what extent.

The matrix identifies four “risk levels” for each of six regions of the state (northeast, northwest, central east, central west, southeast, southwest). It provides “public health recommendations regarding the type of instruction (in-person, hybrid, remote), response to ill staff or students, exclusion criteria, and activities that involve interaction with multiple cohorts.”

In-Person, All-Remote Reopening Criteria Executive Order 175, signed by the governor on August 13, establishes health and safety requirements for in-person instruction and allows school districts to begin the academic year with virtual-only instruction if they are unable to meet the health standards.

A New Issue for Boards of Education: Contagion Transmission Liability An article by the New Jersey School Boards Association legal staff addresses factors school districts should take into account and discuss with their counsel as they plan to reopen.

Updated Sample Policies on Visitors, Transportation, Health Examinations and Immunizations NJSBA Policy Services provides updated documents, reflecting the new requirement that students wear face coverings at all times.

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The New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of the state’s local boards of education and includes the majority of New Jersey’s charter schools as associate members. NJSBA provides training, advocacy and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all students through effective governance.

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