Dear Eatontown Public Schools Community Member:
The purpose of this correspondence is to provide a few important updates to the communication that was sent to the school community on February 23, 2022. The district has received additional guidance from the NJ Department of Health since the last letter was sent to the school community.
As you already know, on February 7, 2022, Governor Murphy announced at a news conference that masks and facial coverings will no longer be mandated for students, staff, or visitors in schools and childcare centers effective March 7, 2022. Based upon the latest guidance from the state, this announcement now applies to the school buses as well.
Based upon input from the School Physician, Monmouth County Health Department, school administration, the local association, as well as the Board of Education, Eatontown Public Schools will adopt a mask-optional policy effective March 7, 2022. Quite simply, students, staff, or visitors will have the right to determine whether or not they choose to wear a mask inside the schools and on school buses based upon their own decision-making process, in an environment free from harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying. However, there will be some limitations to this policy.
First, if health conditions change drastically in the future and our area enters the Red (Very High) level based upon the COVID-19 Activity Level Report or a recommendation is made by the Monmouth County Health Department, masks may need to be reinstated for a period of time until health conditions improve. Second, in January 2022, the district adopted a policy to reduce quarantine time for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or individuals that have COVID-19 symptoms that do not obtain a test. In order to reduce quarantine time from ten to five days, individuals who are quarantined related to the conditions aforementioned will need to wear a mask in school and on the school buses on days six through ten. The goal is to try and keep students and staff in school as much as possible by limiting quarantine time.
Along these lines, the district also has decided not to quarantine students and staff for close contacts in school. With case counts lower in our area and as well two years of data that demonstrates that there has been little to no in school transmission of the disease, at this time, the district will no longer quarantine close contacts in the school setting. However, close contacts in the household setting may still need to quarantine. Public notifications will still be sent to the community and parents will be alerted to close contact information as in the past. Again, our ultimate goal is to keep students and staff on a consistent schedule as we navigate through the remaining stages of the pandemic.
Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation during this time. I think we can all agree that we look forward to more progress in the months ahead.
Scott T. McCue
Superintendent of Schools