Frequently Asked Questions
Updated September 22, 2021
NJ Program to Screen Unvaccinated Students
PPS recently completed a survey to opt in for receiving State COVID-19 screening testing support to initiate a program to screen our unvaccinated students. We will await further information from the state on next steps. In the meantime, we will continue to explore options available to initiate a testing program when COVID-19 activity levels in our local community are in the moderate to very high range.
In-School Screenings & Precautions
Will PPS use the Daily Screening Form this year?
Yes. Staff and students should be symptom-free when they arrive at school and must fill out the Crisis-Go Daily Screening Form before school starts every morning.
Will masks be worn at school?
Yes, masks will be worn by all students and staff under the Governor’s Executive Order 251 and should fully cover the nose and mouth. District-supplied masks will be available if a student’s mask is lost, wet, or unwearable. The latest CDC guidance can be found here. PPS welcomes mask donations.
Will masks be required outdoors?
The CDC recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people. Fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings if they or someone in their household immunocompromised. In alignment with state guidelines, if students are six feet apart outdoors, masks are not required.
What are the procedures for the bus?
Students will wear a mask when boarding the bus, sit in an assigned seat, and stay distanced as much as possible unless they are siblings or members of the same family. Bus windows will be open for fresh air and ventilation.
Will there be social distancing during lunch?
Yes. Students will eat outside whenever possible. PPS schools have adjusted lunch schedules and will use tents and other outdoor spaces during lunch. More "grab and go" lunch options will enable more students to eat outside daily.
Will the district mandate vaccinations?
All New Jersey teachers and staff must be vaccinated before October 18 or undergo weekly testing, by executive order of the governor. We encourage eligible students to be vaccinated, but PPS is not mandating vaccinations at this time. We are monitoring potential mandates and recommendations from the State of New Jersey.
Has any information been shared with the schools on when a vaccine will be available for children under 12 years old? What about booster shots?
Not at this time, but our medical experts will keep us updated and we will share what we learn with you.
What will happen if a student needs to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19?
Students who are quarantined because they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or identified as a close contact to someone who has been diagnosed will be provided with remote learning within 24 hours of the start of their isolation or quarantine period. Students with proof of vaccination will not need to quarantine following an exposure to COVID-19.
What are the current travel rules that may require quarantine?
PPS will continue to abide by the travel guidelines adopted by the CDC.
International Travel: Fully vaccinated individuals who engage in international travel do not need to quarantine after their trip but must be tested within three to five days after returning to the United States. It's important to self-monitor and watch for symptoms.
If you are not vaccinated, you must be tested within three to five days after returning to the United States and self-quarantine for a full 7 days following a negative test. If your test is positive, you must isolate for 10 days and seek medical advice.
Domestic Travel: For individuals who are fully vaccinated and travel outside of New Jersey, there is no need to quarantine or test before or after travel. You should monitor for symptoms and get tested if any develop.
Unvaccinated travelers (including all children under the age of 12) must be tested three to five days after being in states that do not share a border with New Jersey for more than 24 hours) and quarantine for a full seven days even if the test is negative. Individuals who are not tested after travel must stay home and quarantine for ten days.
We ask that all parents with unvaccinated children bring them back to New Jersey by August 30 so that they can start school on September 9. Routine precautionary quarantine or isolation following travel will not qualify a student for remote learning. They will be marked as absent.
When might my child be required to quarantine?
- When they have received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis
- When they are non-vaccinated and have been in close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- In certain instances, after traveling (please see above link)
- When they exhibit COVID-like symptoms—
- At least two of the following symptoms: fever (measure or subjective), chills, rigors (shivers), myalgia (muscle aches), headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, congestion, or runny nose;
- At least one of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new olfactory disorder, or new taste disorder.
What is contact tracing?
Contact tracing, in combination with isolation and quarantine, is used by health departments to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. It involves identifying people who have a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 (cases) and people who they came in contact with (close contacts) and working with them to interrupt disease spread. This includes asking people with COVID-19 to isolate and their contacts to quarantine at home.
Please note that PPS, in accordance with CDC guidelines, will not quarantine vaccinated individuals exposed to a person who has tested positive. Unvaccinated individuals may still be required to quarantine if exposed to a positive case.
Covid-related remote instruction: In alignment with the Governor's order and Department of Education requirements, COVID-related remote learning is only possible when:
- A student is in isolation due to a positive COVID diagnosis
- A student is unvaccinated and has been identified as having close contact with a COVID patient and needs to quarantine.
For those options only, the district will provide COVID-related remote instruction for students starting 24 hours after the quarantine or isolation period begins. The State does not allow remote learning for preventative quarantine following travel or concerns about virus spread, so students will be counted as absent in those instances.
Non-covid-related remote instruction: As always, remote (home) instruction is possible for non-COVID-related issues like surgery or other significant medical issues. A medical doctor's note is required requesting home instruction for a specific and temporary period.
Homeschooling: Homeschooling is different than temporary remote (home) instruction and involves withdrawing your child from Princeton Public Schools. Parents who choose this option need to notify their school in writing. A family can re-enroll their child in a PPS school at any time.
We understand that sorting through this information and making informed decisions is sometimes difficult. PPS will continue to closely monitor guidance from the NJ Department of Health and the Department of Education and provide updates as new information is received.
All student athletes will be required to complete an electronic health questionnaire before attending practices and games.
Parents are not permitted to attend tryouts or practices but are allowed to attend games. Spectators are required to wear masks for all indoor games. They are not required outdoors.
Physical distancing of at least 6 feet will be practiced whenever possible. If athletes are not able to maintain 6' of physical distancing while on the sidelines they will be required to wear masks.
The rules pertaining to quarantine and isolation following travel outside of the state also pertain to athletes.
You'll find detailed information here.
Will students have access to lockers at Princeton Middle School and Princeton High School?
To maintain COVID-19 related safety procedures, lockers will be unavailable to students at Princeton Middle School this year. There will be a place for Princeton Middle School athletes to store their equipment.
How will art and music and other special classes be accommodated at the elementary schools?
Specials will move back to the art and music rooms as long as the rooms have sufficient space so that students can maintain social distance requirements for during their activities. Outside spaces can also be used when students need to remove their masks for instrumental lessons.
Will Back to School Night be held in person?
Due to the impact of the Delta variant, Back to School Night will be virtual. The classrooms lack the required space for social distancing.
Will students be able to use the swimming pool at Princeton Middle School?
PPS is working with health experts to determine protocols for using the pool. Protocols will be established to use the locker rooms.
Useful Links and Resources
- District News