August 6, 2021

Dear Roxbury Families:

Today Governor Murphy announced the mandate that students and staff are required to wear masks in our school buildings. For some of you, this news is a relief. For others, it is a frustration. All opinions are valid because they are based on data, your experiences and your beliefs. It is important that we continue to respect each person’s perspective while we work together to promote our community’s health. The most important thing he said was that the mandate is temporary and will change as we move forward and data changes.

One thing that has not changed is our excitement in welcoming our students back into our buildings. The first day of school for students is September 1st. We are in a much better place than this time last year. We have learned much since then. We know how to keep our environment at a higher level of cleanliness. We know how to work with quarantining protocols and when to transition from in-person to virtual to hybrid. We know how to work with masks. We have continued mental and emotional health training. In short, we have a vast amount of experience to draw upon at this point and will continue to support each other physically, emotionally, and intellectually. We are in a much better place. 

Still, we must continue to be vigilant. Students have not had an extended amount of time around each other. Common sense tells us that our collective immunity is low. Therefore, there will, mostly likely, be an increase in colds, sinusitis, strep throat, the flu, and possibly Covid. We can minimize the impact of all bacteria and viruses by continuing to practice healthy protocols. The following recommendations include considerations from the CDC as well as advice often received after visiting a family physician.

Wash hands often and avoid touching the face.

Wear a mask as mandated.

Consider getting vaccinated.

Drink lots of water.

Drink tea.

Ensure an appropriate amount of sleep each night.

Take vitamins and have some chicken soup.

Stay home when feeling ill.

These suggestions are not made lightly or flippantly. We must be extra vigilant this year and prepare to support our immune systems with a variety of remedies. We have lived under stressful and isolated circumstances that have put us in a weakened physical condition, but we can prepare for them by being smart about our health and taking the actions outlined above. We must be proactive as the colder months approach.

The following bullet points will provide some of the details about what to expect this September regarding protocols. Additional information will be provided by your building principals. As always, this information is being provided based upon current circumstances

 

Health Form:

We have a new form that every family must complete that acknowledges the District’s health expectations. To avoid the spread of any illness, please keep your children home if they are experiencing health related symptoms. Completing the Health Form in your Back to School paperwork will replace the Daily Health Screening used last year and provides expectations for our partnership in ensuring the health and safety for all. Therefore, you will no longer be required to fill out the rSchoolToday app. Expectations are that ill children and their siblings will be kept home as appropriate.

 

Masking:  

Masks are currently required in buildings and on buses.

 

Quarantining and Continuation of Learning:

If a student is identified as a school-related close contact, the child will be permitted to stream into the classroom during the quarantine time period. This instructional opportunity will not extend to other health issues, vacations or other reasons for absences. Length of quarantines will be determined based upon the most recent CDC guidance and in coordination with our local health officials.

 

Universal Mental Health Screening:

In order to ensure that we are best supporting our students, especially in light of the complicated circumstances that were presented to us last year, the school district will continue to focus on social emotional learning and school counseling support at all levels. In order to add an additional layer of support, we will begin to administer a Universal Mental Health Screener in grades 7 - 12.  This screener will be administered to students in September and January to assist us with identifying any students who may need additional assistance from School Counselors. This additional support also aligns with current legislation that is moving through the New Jersey government and will consist of a handful of yes/no questions similar to what physicians currently have patients complete during a visit. Please remember that this is simply an additional layer of support. School counselors, staff, and administration are always available should assistance be needed.

 

New Website:

The district has updated the design of its website (www.roxbury.org). We hope that this update will create a more engaging experience for those in the community and beyond searching our online home. The new design reorganizes pages to better house them in a way that fits our current structure, features more information, and has worked to make content more accessible and inclusive for our diverse community. The Roxbury Schools NJ app is also available for cell phones.

 

Parent Portal:  

The Parent Portal will open on August 17th.  August 18th schedules for Lincoln Roosevelt, Eisenhower Middle School and Roxbury High School will be available.  Schedules for elementary students will be available on August 20th. 

 

Pave Your Legacy:

This initiative will offset the cost of the school bell structure in front of the Grey Building and will provide funding that will be used for an archway at the athletic field entrance for our graduates and all Gaels. The cost of a paver is only $25 and will be placed around the structure that houses Roxbury School District’s school bell or on the pathway to the field. Please visit the District website or click HERE.

 

Saturday Support Program:

Our Saturday Support program was very effective in helping students find success last year.  Therefore, we will continue the program during the 2021-2022 year. More information will follow on this opportunity for our students.

 

Typical Day Exhaustion:

Lastly, please be aware that some students may struggle with returning to typical school days where there is a different kind of exhaustion than that of last year where things were continually changing. Now, expectations, deadlines, and workload may feel heavier than they have in the past. We need to band together to reiterate the importance of a strong work ethic and all of the benefits that go along with it from achievement to a sense of value and self-satisfaction. It will be a delicate balance of hard work and self care. Mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) will continue to play an important role in our students’ educational experience. If your child is experiencing any difficulties, please reach out to teachers and guidance counselors as your first line of communication. We all will continue to provide guidance, support, and positive reinforcement as we take on 2021-2022, our COME BACK YEAR.

 

Yours in Education,

Loretta L. Radulic, Ed. D. 

Superintendent of Schools