Morris School District: Hybrid schedules remain for upper grades; quarantine rules eased

Coronavirus update: Morris School District, April 16, 2021.


The Morris School District on Friday said it’s proceeding with plans for full in-person instruction in September; virtual options will hinge on state directives.

But hybrid schedules will continue for now at Morristown High School and the Frelinghuysen Middle School, until the region’s “high risk” designation is downgraded to “moderate risk” for transmission of COVID-19.  End-of-year celebrations will be determined based on these factors.

And starting on Monday, April 19, 2021, the district will ease quarantine protocols for grades 3-5, extending measures already adopted for the high school and middle schools.  Quarantine only will be required for students who have had “true close contact” with an infected person in the classroom; the entire class no longer must stay home.

Details on that, on academic testing schedules, and on the 2021-22 school calendar, are in the full statement below.

From the Morris School District:

April 16, 2021
  • Current COVID Trends. The most recent data from the NJ Department of Health indicates that case rates in our region are currently trending downward, although we still remain in the “orange” (high risk) category. However, an adjacent region (Central West) has been downgraded to “yellow” (moderate risk) over the past week, which is a positive sign. Fortunately, we have not experienced a “post-spring break spike” within the MSD community. We hope that our relatively low in-district rates will continue to decrease and enable us to follow through on important end-of-year celebrations and activities for our students and families.
  • Planning for the 2021-22 school year is well underway. We expect to open all MSD schools in September for in-person instruction every day, five days a week, for a full school day. The calendar for 2021-22 is available on our website.
    • We do not know at this time whether Governor Murphy will require NJ public schools to offer virtual options in 2021-22 or whether current mitigation measures such as mask wearing and social distancing will still be in place (these, too, are state-level directives).
  • FMS/MHS Fourth Marking Period. As Principals Uglialoro and Manning have notified their respective schools, the current hybrid schedule for in-person students at FMS and MHS (rotation of two days in school followed by two days of remote learning) will remain intact until further notice. Once we are safely in the yellow, we can begin bringing in-person students into the building five days a week on a rolling basis according to grade level.
    • Middle and high school families were sent confirmation of enrollment status, cohort assignment, and important safety reminders on Wednesday, April 14. If you did not receive this information, please contact your school’s main office or your student’s house administrator (FMS) or assistant principal (MHS).
  • New Parameters for Quarantine in Grades 3-5. We have made the following adjustments to our COVID response protocols for students and staff in grades 3-5, consistent with current practice at FMS and MHS:
    • Beginning April 19, we will determine on a case-by-case basis whether a positive case in the classroom has resulted in true close contacts that meet the CDC definition of exposure (within 6 feet of the positive case for at least 15 minutes’ cumulative time over a 24-hour period).
    • These true close contacts, as well as the positive individual, will continue to follow the 14-day quarantine at home.
    • Anyone else in the class who does not meet the definition of close contact may remain in school.
    • At this time, this adjustment applies only to students and staff in grades 3-12.
    • Determining true close contacts on buses with certainty is a greater challenge, but whenever we are able to do so, we will follow the above protocols on buses as well.
  • District Calendar and End-of-Year Events. 
    • The Board of Education will review the 2020-21 district calendar at their April 26 meeting, and any proposed adjustments will be considered at that time. Please note that even if the final day of school changes, graduation dates for FMS and MHS will remain the same as they are now (June 21 and June 22, respectively).
    • Each principal will communicate their school-specific plans regarding end-of-year events such as picture days, class picnics, field days, moving-up ceremonies, graduation, and other celebrations as these plans materialize. Please be patient while our building administrators, teachers, and staff work hard to create safe, meaningful milestone events for our students and families that meet state and local public health requirements. We look forward to sharing many happy moments together as a community!
  • From the Morris School District Technology Team …  
    • For technology-related problems or questions, click here to “Troubleshoot Your Tech
    • State and District assessment dates have been updated for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year; please click here for the revised assessment calendar. Note that the NJ Department of Education has been granted a waiver by the U.S. Department of Education to postpone state standardized assessments, normally offered in the spring, until the fall of 2021. NJ public schools will administer an abbreviated assessment–“Strong Start”–next fall in lieu of the NJ Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA). Morris School District student growth and achievement will still be appropriately assessed this spring via district-level measures as indicated in the assessment calendar linked above.

THANK YOU to the MSD Technology team for their herculean efforts throughout the pandemic to provide continual support and improved resources
for our students and teachers!

*Words that appear above in maroon are clickable links!

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  1. It is great that quarantines are changing for 3-5 but they should also apply to K-2 as well. Kids are wearing masks, sit at their desks almost all day, they shouldn’t have to endure the 14 days. Regarding next year, there should be no question on whether there is full days, everyday. This is a must!! Also the ability to get rid of having to wear masks by then. We have to live our lives and if most of the community is vaccinated or has obtained heard immunity, there is no reason a mask is needed.

  2. We need a full commitment for September now so parents can plan! Enough dragging of feet! The kids learned nothing this year!