Logo: State of New Jersey, Department of Education.

LEA Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Service
Pursuant to the Federal American Rescue Plan Act, Section 2001(i)

Introduction and Background

As announced in the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE)’s April 28, 2021 broadcast, in March 2021 President Biden signed the Federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, Public Law 117-2, into law. The ARP Act provides an additional $122 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) to States and school districts to help safely reopen, sustain the safe operation of schools, and address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s students. As with the previous ESSER funds available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), the purpose of the additional funding is to support local educational agencies (LEAs) in preparing for and responding to the impacts of COVID-19 on educators, students, and families. Additional information on ARP ESSER may be found in the NJDOE’s funding comparison fact sheet.

Section 2001(i)(1) of the ARP Act requires each LEA that receives ARP ESSER funds to develop and make publicly available on the LEA’s website, no later than 30 days after receiving ARP ESSER funds, a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services for all schools (Safe Return Plan) A Safe Return Plan is required of all fund recipients, including those that have already returned to in-person instruction. Section 2001(i)(2) of the ARP Act further requires that the LEA seek public comment on the Safe Return Plan and take those comments into account in finalization of the Safe Return Plan. Under the interim final requirements published in Volume 86, No. 76 of the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE), an LEA must periodically, but no less frequently than every six months through September 30, 2023, review and, as appropriate, revise its Safe Return Plan.

Pursuant to those requirements, LEAs must submit to the NJDOE and post on their website their Safe Return Plans by June 24, 2021. The NJDOE intends to make LEA ARP ESSER Fund applications available in EWEG on May 24, 2021 and LEAs will submit their Safe Return Plans to the NJDOE via EWEG. To assist LEAs with the development of their Safe Return Plans, the NJDOE is providing the following template.

This template incorporates the federally-required components of the Safe Return Plan. The questions in the template below will be included in the LEA ARP ESSER Fund application in EWEG. LEAs will submit responses to the questions within the LEA ARP ESSER Fund application in EWEG by June 24, 2021.  The NJDOE hopes that this template will allow LEAs to effectively plan for that submission and to easily post the information to their websites as required by the ARP Act.

Note that on May 17, 2021, Governor Murphy announced that upon the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year, portions of Executive Order 175 allowing remote learning will be rescinded, meaning that schools will be required to provide full-day, in-person instruction, as they were prior to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The NJDOE and New Jersey Department of Health will share additional information regarding State requirements or guidance for health and safety protocols for the 2021-2022 school year as it becomes available.

Template: LEA Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services

LEA Name:  Berkeley Township School District

Date 06/23/2021        Date Revised:

1. Maintaining Health and Safety

For each mitigation strategy listed below (A–H), please describe how the LEA will maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff and the extent to which it has adopted policies, and a description of any such policies, on each of the following safety recommendations established by the CDC.

A. Universal and correct wearing of masks

Berkeley Township School District will follow the NJDOE/NJDOH Mandates for Social Distancing in Instructional and Non-Instructional Rooms. Face coverings for students and staff will be optional. As face coverings may be challenging for students to wear in all-day settings such as school, the use of face coverings will be reevaluated as new directives are issued by NJDOE/NJDOH.  In addition, exceptions for face coverings may include medical disability, environmental conditions such as excessive heat, and others to be determined on a case-by-case basis. All will be frequently reminded not to touch their face and to wash hands frequently.

B. Physical distancing (e.g., including use of cohorts/podding)

All students will attend in-person learning 5 days per week.

Students will be provided with opportunities to be outside as much as possible, weather permitting. 

Hand washing and sanitizing breaks will be provided throughout the day.

We are awaiting guidance for the opening of schools and will follow CDC guidelines for social distancing.

C. Handwashing and respiratory etiquette 

Berkeley Township School District will follow the CDC Guidelines for Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

Teach and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and increase monitoring to ensure adherence among students and staff.
If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer).

Encourage staff and students to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer).

D. Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation

BTSD increased the cleaning of high touched areas including door knobs, light switches, classroom sink and handles, countertops, sharpeners, chairs and desktops.

BTSD utilizes at a minimum EPA approved cleaning products. Custodial staff have been trained in the proper use of the products following the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Additional cleaning:

Bathrooms contain no touch trash cans.

Hand sanitizers will be mounted in each classroom at the entrance and in hallways at the entrance of each school.

Buses will be fogged each evening.

Routine cleaning includes cleaning of all furniture surfaces.

Teachers will be provided with disinfectant to clean routinely.

BTSD has adequate cleaning supplies on hand.

Cleaning chemicals will be kept in the custodial closets.

If a person is identified as COVID-19 positive, the latest CDC guidelines and recommendations will be followed.

Air conditioning will be provided in all instructional areas.

E. Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments

Berkeley Township School District will continue to follow CDC guidelines regarding contact tracing.

District nurses will be assigned as liaison to the local health department.

Provide staff training for COVID symptoms and staff responsibilities.
School nurses will complete the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Contact Tracing Course.

The district will adhere to all applicable federal and state requirements regarding privacy of educational records.

Nurses will inform applicable staff when notified of a positive result of COVID-19 in the building.

In accordance with state and local laws and regulations, school representatives will notify local health officials, staff, and families immediately of any case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Inform those who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms, and follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

F. Diagnostic and screening testing

BTSD will continue to follow CDC Guidelines.

Sick staff members or students will not return until they have met CDC’s criteria to discontinue home isolation.

Ensure that staff and families know that they
will not come to school and should notify school officials if they become sick with COVID-19 symptoms, test positive for COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms or a confirmed or suspected case.
Immediately separate anyone with COVID-19 symptoms at school. Individuals who are sick
will go home or to a healthcare facility depending on how severe their symptoms are, and follow CDC guidance.

Identify an isolation room or area to separate anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive without symptoms. School nurses
will use Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions when caring for the sick. Establish procedures for safely transporting the sick to their home or healthcare facility. If calling for an ambulance, alert them that the person may have COVID-19.

G. Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible

Berkeley Township School District continues to inform staff of any upcoming vaccination clinics for educators and held a staff vaccination clinic in conjunction with Walgreens Pharmacy.

H. Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies

Our district will follow CDC guidelines and adhere to individual student needs in alignment with IEPs and individualized healthcare plans.

2. Ensuring Continuity of Services

A. Describe how the LEA will ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to services to address students’ academic needs and students’ and staff’s social, emotional, mental health, and other needs, which may include student health and food services. (1000 character limit)

We will offer after school programs which will provide support services or targeted counseling for students to support social and emotional well-being.
We will conduct Learning Academies to target academic deficits.
The Second Step social/emotional curriculum will be integrated into daily lessons.
The Berkeley Township School District Crisis Team will address any student in crisis and provide district support.
Professional Development will be provided for staff to support social/emotional well-being for staff and their students.
There will be a continuation of free meals through June of 2022.
We will hold workshops for community members on wellness.

3. Public Comment

A. Describe how the LEA sought public comment on its plan, and how it took those public comment into account in the development of its plan.  Note, the ARP requires that LEAs seek public comment for each 60-day revision to the plan. (1000 character limit)

The plan will be submitted for board approval at the June 23, 2021 Board of Education Meeting for public comment. Public discussions were also held at the building level at School Improvement Plan Committee meetings to ensure input from all stakeholders.

B. Describe how the LEA ensured that the plan is in an understandable and uniform format; is to the extent practicable written in a language that parents can understand or, if not practicable to provide written translations to a parent with limited English proficiency, will be orally translated for such a parent; and upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability as defined by the ADA, will be provided in an alternative format accessible to that parent. (1000 character limit)

The plan will be posted on our district website. The principals will review the plan with parents at Back to School Night.

C. Briefly describe any guidance professional learning and technical assistance opportunities the LEA will make available to its schools.

Staff will be trained on inservice days and ongoing professional development opportunities will be provided.