Stop the (digital) press! Big COVID news at Morristown High

Morris School District coronavirus dashboard, May 7, 2021.
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No new COVID-19 cases at Morristown High School this week.

Anyone remember the last time you heard that?

“This week, I am happy to communicate that there were no positive cases of COVID-19 reported for any member of the Morristown High School community,” Principal Mark Manning said in a message to students and parents.

The encouraging news doesn’t stop there.

Across the Morris School District, COVID numbers are the lowest they have been since the school year began in September.  With the state Department of Health downgrading all of New Jersey to the “yellow” (moderate risk) category, MSD officials are optimistic that schools can proceed with their year-end events.

Next week, students will start shifting from hybrid schedules to five-day-per-week in-school instruction at the high school and the Frelinghuysen Middle School.

District-wide, there was just 12 active positive cases as of Friday.  Since September, there have been 459.

“Our thanks to everyone for their ongoing efforts in following the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention safeguards,” Manning said in his message.

Below is Friday’s update from the district.

From the Morris School District:

MAY 7, 2021
  • District and Local Coronavirus Trends. We are very pleased to be able to share that the Morris School District is currently experiencing our lowest number of positive cases since the school year began. Likewise, case rates in our local area and statewide have dropped precipitously. All of NJ, including our Northwest region, has been de-escalated to the “yellow” (moderate risk) level by the NJ Department of Health. We are expecting this trend to continue through the end of the school year, which should enable our schools to safely host the end-of-year events they have been planning for.
  • FMS/MHS In-Person Instruction. As a result of our relatively low in-district numbers as well as the fact that our region will have been in the yellow for three consecutive weeks, in-person instruction at the middle and high schools will be phased in five days a week beginning Monday, May 10, as communicated earlier this week by principals Manning and Uglialoro. Please review your principal’s letter for details regarding when each grade level will begin attending school five days a week and for important procedural reminders.
  • Change in Quarantine Time Frames. Now that our region has achieved a moderate risk level for positivity rates, the length required for quarantine has changed from 14 to 10 days as per NJ Department of Health guidelines. We started implementing this revised time frame at the beginning of the week.
  • Protocols for Possible Exposure on Buses. We will make every effort to accurately determine true close contacts (those within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer within a 24-hour period) whenever a positive case has been identified on a bus. This process is often lengthy and may require us to temporarily quarantine students while we investigate possible exposure and determine close contacts. Parents may be contacted to pick up their child while we await a final determination. Anyone identified as a close contact will be notified accordingly and given instructions and dates for quarantine; anyone determined not to be a close contact will be able to return to school the next day. Thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter of ensuring the safety of our students and staff.
  • The CDC has published guiding principles for fully vaccinated people, available HERE. Note that for the purposes of this guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen). During non-school-related activities, fully vaccinated people may:
    • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
    • Visit with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
    • Participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues
    • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel

Please continue to follow current CDC guidelines for unvaccinated children and adults, including mask wearing and quarantining after travel or exposure.

It is also critical that all families continue to monitor their children for COVID-related symptoms, complete the Daily Student Screening every day through the end of the school year, and contact the school nurse immediately if the screening so dictates.

Finally, please continue to observe the health and safety protocols stipulated by your child’s school while on school property and at school-related events.

  • COVID-19 vaccines are now available at many locations without an appointment, including at all NJ Vaccine Megasites during select times. All individuals aged 16 and older who live, work, or study in New Jersey are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. The Morris County Megasite at Rockaway Townsquare is currently offering walk-in vaccinations from 8 am to 12 pm, Monday to Sunday (note that this location will be closed on Sunday, May 9, for Mother’s Day). Visit the NJ COVID-19 Information Hub for more information.
  • Please review important information regarding your child’s district-issued Chromebook and/or MiFi hotspot in THIS COMMUNICATION from our Technology Department.  

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