The New Jersey Safe Schools Program (NJSS) wants to remind school stakeholders of these three important topics as we enter the final month of summer 2021 and plan for back-to-school reopening in September.

Expanded Work Hours for Minors Assembly Bill 5898, enacted into law on July 1, temporarily expands summer working hours for certain minors. Now, minors between 16 and 18 years of age can work up to 50 hours a week during the summer period beginning the last day of the minor’s school year and ending on Labor Day, Sept. 6. A parent or guardian’s permission is required.

Critically Important to Improve Air Ventilation and Filtration The NJSS reminds schools of the critical importance of adequate enhanced ventilation and filtration in our public, charter and private schools serving students and adult workers in K-12. In general, based on field research experiences — documented in peer-reviewed journals — NJSS recommends that you do not buy expensive air cleaning equipment and UV light add-on devices to unit ventilators and mechanical HVAC systems (heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems). Instead, with available resources, NJSS recommends that you focus on the maintenance of existing mechanical HVAC; on the use of the most efficient HVAC filter (highest MERV rating possible), ideally MERV 13 or higher and HEPA filtration units if there is no HVAC. Also, please replace the filters per manufacturer recommendations (i.e., certain number of times per year). Finally, bring in outdoor air. Don’t just recirculate indoor air. An HVAC system should have adjustable settings.

Credible COVID Resources Please remember that New Jersey has a number of credible resources regarding COVID-19. Live updates, announcements, health information, services, and resources for at-home student learning can be accessed for free online. To access official state and federal agency guidance, please visit webpages listed in the first section of each NJSS e-newsletter in the 2020-2021 school year (and continued with expanded resources as warranted in fall 2021).

This information was submitted by Dr. Derek G. Shendell, Maryanne L.F. Campbell and Lauren N. Gonzalez for the Rutgers New Jersey Safe Schools Program. For more details, please see recent NJSS e-newsletters online (volume 13 numbers 15-16). Email cscbre@sph.rutgers.edu to sign up for a monthly e-newsletter and special issues.

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