Health Protocols 2021-2022
Updated Health Protocols
Updated April 7, 2022
We hope that all of our students and staff will have a restorative and fun spring break.
After spring break, PPS will continue to follow the NJ Dept of Health COVID travel advisory guidelines. Staff and students who are not vaccinated need to get tested 3-5 days after travel and quarantine for 5 days. This applies to travelers who go outside of the tri-state area of NY, PA and Delaware, and for international travel. If you have tested positive for COVID in the last 90 days, and are not vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine. For more details, please click here.
Unvaccinated students who must quarantine for 5 days will be provided with remote learning. If you know in advance that your student will be quarantining between April 18-22, please let your teachers know before spring break, if possible.
For staff and students who are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine after travel. We ask that you monitor for symptoms, stay home if you are not feeling well and get tested for COVID.
For families that do not have health insurance and are seeking medical care (which could include tests for COVID-19), Zufall Health at One Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro (telephone 609.853.7600) provides appointments for uninsured individuals on a sliding scale. Appointments are required.
Starting on March 7, masks will no longer be mandatory in PPS schools however, the district encourages students and staff to wear masks and will follow the guidelines provided by the NJ Department of Health.
As we transition away from mandated masking, PPS will continue to adhere to social distancing in the classroom and other areas of our schools.
- Student desks will be kept at a distance of 3 to 6 feet depending on the space available in each individual classroom.
- Teachers and instructional assistants will maintain 6 feet of distance from students. If a student needs assistance, they will assist and back away in an effort to limit the amount of time in close contact with a student during a 24-hour period.
- Students will continue to be distanced during indoor or outdoor lunch. This is an important mitigation strategy to prevent virus spread.
- Staff will encourage vulnerable and at-risk students to wear a mask at all times if their parents make this decision.
- Schools will continue appropriate distancing during all school activities.
- PPS will work with the Princeton Department of Health to monitor COVID level and trends in the schools and community.
Individual Masking Decisions
- School principals, with the help of school counselors, are working on providing lessons, messaging, and other ways to support individual choice for mask wearing. We want to prevent peer pressure that could influence a student who prefers to wear a mask to take it off.
- Teachers and other staff will monitor students when possible and support individual choice.
- We will reinforce the importance of sensitivity.
- Although we encourage masking, we are not requiring masking. Staff and students can make the decision to not wear a mask at all in school.
- In a few situations in our schools, staff members must be in close proximity (within 3 feet) to a student for an extended period of time. For instance, during a Child Study Team evaluation, which could involve testing of an hour or more. In addition, other testing and therapy situation may involve close contact for more than 15 minutes. In these situations, the teacher, related service provider, or CST member will make advance arrangements with parents and students if the student needs to wear a mask.
- During activities when students need to be in close proximity for 15 minutes or more (such as during science lab activities), even if a student is not wearing a mask all day, students are encouraged to wear a mask during the activity. Again, this is not required, but encouraged.
- Child Study Team meetings will continue to be virtual unless a parent specifically requests an in-person meeting. The meeting would then have to be scheduled in a larger space such as the conference rooms at the Valley Road Administration Building. If this was to occur, the teacher may have to participate virtually due to scheduling constraints.
- We will continue to limit visitors to our schools. Parents with appointments who enter a building are encouraged, but not required, to wear a mask. PPS will continue to require social distancing when any visitor is in our schools.
- Masking is encouraged but not required on all buses.
- Buses will continue to have open windows and plastic around the driver.
- Buses will be disinfected between runs.
Student and Staff COVID Testing
- Weekly Mirimus testing will continue for our students.
- Additionally, twice weekly testing by Praxis of unvaccinated staff will continue.
Contact Tracing will now involve using a 6-foot radius around the infected individual. Previously, with universal masking, we were able to use a 3-foot radius for students who were appropriately masked and sitting in front-facing rows.
Protocolos de salud actualizados
Actualizado el 4 de marzo de 2022
A partir del 7 de marzo, las máscaras ya no serán obligatorias en las escuelas de PPS; sin embargo, el distrito alienta a los estudiantes y al personal a usar máscaras y seguir las pautas proporcionadas por el Departamento de Salud de NJ.
A medida que nos alejamos del enmascaramiento obligatorio, PPS continuará siguiendo el distanciamiento social en el salón de clases y otras áreas de nuestras escuelas.
- Los escritorios de los estudiantes se mantendrán a una distancia de 3 a 6 pies dependiendo del espacio disponible en cada aula individualmente.
- Los maestros y asistentes de instrucción mantendrán una distancia de 6 pies de los estudiantes. Si un estudiante necesita ayuda, lo ayudarán y se apartarán en un esfuerzo por limitar la cantidad de tiempo en contacto cercano con un estudiante durante un período de 24 horas.
- Los estudiantes seguirán estando distanciados durante el almuerzo en el interior o al aire libre. Esta es una importante estrategia de mitigación para prevenir la propagación del virus.
- El personal alentará a los estudiantes vulnerables y en riesgo a usar la máscara en todo momento si sus padres han tomado esta decisión.
- Las escuelas continuarán con el distanciamiento apropiado durante todas las actividades escolares.
- PPS trabajará con el Departamento de Salud de Princeton para monitorear el nivel y las tendencias de COVID en las escuelas y la comunidad.
Decisiones de enmascaramiento individuales
- Los directores de las escuelas, con la ayuda de los consejeros escolares, están trabajando para brindar lecciones, mensajes y otras formas de apoyar la elección individual de usar máscaras. Queremos evitar la presión de los compañeros que podría influir en un estudiante que prefiere usar una máscara a quitársela.
- Los maestros y otro personal supervisarán a los estudiantes cuando sea posible y apoyarán la elección individual.
- Se tomará en cuenta la susceptibilidad de las personas.
- Aunque alentamos el uso de mascarillas, no lo exigimos. El personal y los estudiantes pueden tomar la decisión de no usar mascarilla en la escuela.
- En algunas situaciones en nuestras escuelas, los miembros del personal deben estar muy cerca (dentro de 3 pies) de un estudiante durante un período prolongado de tiempo. Por ejemplo, durante una evaluación del Equipo de estudio infantil, que podría implicar una prueba de una hora o más. Además, otras situaciones de prueba y terapia pueden implicar un contacto cercano durante más de 15 minutos. En estas situaciones, el maestro, el proveedor de servicios relacionados o el miembro de CST harán arreglos por adelantado con los padres y los estudiantes si el estudiante necesita usar una máscara.
- Durante las actividades en las que los estudiantes deben estar muy cerca durante 15 minutos o más (como durante las actividades de laboratorio de ciencias), incluso si un estudiante no usa una máscara en todo el día, se anima a los estudiantes a usar una máscara durante la actividad. Una vez más, esto no es obligatorio, pero se recomienda.
- Las reuniones del Equipo de estudio infantil seguirán siendo virtuales a menos que un padre solicite específicamente una reunión en persona. Entonces, la reunión tendría que programarse en un espacio más grande, como las salas de conferencias en el edificio de administración de Valley Road. Si esto ocurriera, es posible que el maestro tenga que participar virtualmente debido a limitaciones de horario.
- Continuaremos limitando las visitas a nuestras escuelas. Se recomienda, pero no se exige, que los padres con citas que ingresan a un edificio usen una máscara. PPS continuará requiriendo el distanciamiento social cuando cualquier visitante esté en nuestras escuelas.
- Se recomienda el uso de máscaras, pero no es obligatorio en todos los autobuses.
- Los autobuses seguirán teniendo ventanas abiertas y plástico alrededor del conductor.
- Los autobuses se desinfectarán entre recorridos.
Pruebas de COVID para estudiantes y personal
- Las pruebas semanales de Mirimus continuarán para nuestros estudiantes.
- Además, continuarán las pruebas dos veces por semana realizadas por Praxis al personal no vacunado.
Rastreo de contactos
El rastreo de contactos ahora implicará el uso de un radio de 6 pies alrededor de la persona infectada. Anteriormente, con el enmascaramiento universal, podíamos usar un radio de 3 pies para los estudiantes que estaban debidamente enmascarados y sentados en las filas orientadas hacia el frente.
Updated January 12, 2022
The NJ Department of Health has adjusted the COVID guidelines for K-12 schools to correspond with the recently revised CDC guidance. We have reviewed the guidelines with our health care professionals and our Health and Safety Task force has met and reviewed the changes. Building principals and school nurses are working to implement the changes. Attached you will find information from the NJ Dept. Health and also a chart of the information to make it easier to navigate. The important parts of this change include:
- reduced isolation and quarantine time for staff and students
- the requirement for staff and students who return early from isolation to eat lunch/snack away from the general population through day 10 of the full isolation period
- a change to the booster requirements required to avoid quarantine for adults/students 18 years and older
Please read over the guidance carefully. We will post it on the PPS website for reference under Physical and Mental Health Protocols and Resources.
At this time, we ask parents to:
- Please keep your student home if you are waiting for the results of a PCR test.
- If you have a child who tests positive and you have other students in the district, please notify the school nurse at your other child’s school.
- Please do not send children who are required to isolate to programs in the community.
Building principals are in the process of developing lunch procedures and confirming locations for students who must isolate during lunch. Your school principal will permit students to return early from isolation (or quarantine) as soon as these lunch procedures have been confirmed. We anticipate that will happen within the next 48 hours.
In the coming weeks, we will set up regular vaccination clinics with the Princeton Health Dept. for students and staff. More information will be forthcoming. The clinics will provide students, families and staff with the opportunity to receive vaccines and boosters.
As we have done for the past two years, we will continue to work hard to navigate these changes, monitor positive students and staff, and work closely with the Princeton Health Dept. and our school physician. Please continue to be diligent in completing CrisisGo each morning to help to keep our school community safe.
If you have questions, please contact your school nurse, the Princeton Health Department, or email PPSStudentServices@princetonk12.org.
Free At-Home PCR COVID-19 Tests
All New Jersey residents can order a free at-home COVID-19 saliva PCR test through Vault Medical Services. Register online for your free test at http://learn.vaulthealth.com/nj.
To find a free public testing location visit http://covid19.nj.gov/freetest.
COVID-19 Boosters and Vaccines
If you want to schedule an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine or booster, please visit https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/finder.
Stay tuned about the date for the next PPS Vaccination Clinic--we hope to hold it in one of our schools!
Please Upload Your Student's Vaccination Information
We are pleased that vaccinations are now available for students ages 5 to 11 in addition to students ages 12 to 18. If your student has recently been vaccinated, after their second shot we ask that you upload their vaccination card into our existing Student Information System (PowerSchool) to facilitate contact tracing.
- Current quarantining requirements vary based upon vaccination status.
- Contact tracing requires PPS nurses to inquire about each student's vaccination status.
- If a student is named a "close contact," the student will not need to quarantine or miss school if they are in fact vaccinated.
PPS will maintain student confidentiality. Only staff directly involved in contact tracing will have access to vaccination status.
Please see the directions below which are provided in both English and Spanish.
Ha sido un inicio emocionante del año escolar viendo a nuestros alumnos de vuelta a la escuela participando en actividades y reconectados con la comunidad escolar. Continuamos trabajando para proporcionar enseñanza, actividades y experiencias sociales que ayuden a nuestros estudiantes a recuperar un sentido de pertenencia y orgullo en nuestras escuelas.
En este momento, estamos muy agradecidos por el apoyo de todos al completar el examen de salud diario, y por nuestros estudiantes por seguir atentos a nuestros protocolos de salud y seguridad. Durante la última semana, es posible que haya recibido un par de notificaciones de salud y seguridad que lo alertan sobre casos recientes de COVID-19.
Los requisitos de cuarentena actuales varían según el estado de vacunación. El rastreo de contactos requiere que preguntemos sobre el estado de vacunación de cada estudiante. Si un estudiante es nombrado "contacto cercano", no es necesario que lo pongan en cuarentena o falten a la escuela si de hecho están vacunados. Para acelerar este esfuerzo, hemos creado un medio para que las familias carguen voluntariamente la tarjeta de vacunación de su estudiante en nuestro sistema de información estudiantil existente: PowerSchool. La confidencialidad de su estudiante es nuestra prioridad; por lo tanto, queremos que todas las familias sepan que solo el personal de la escuela que participa directamente en el rastreo de contactos tendrá acceso a esta información. El estado de vacunación y las tarjetas de vacunación se ocultarán al resto del personal.
Por favor, consulte las instrucciones a continuación, que se proporcionan tanto en inglés como en español.
CrisisGo Update: New Morning Deadline
PPS uses CrisisGo, an online tool (with an app for your phone) that allows school administrators, teachers, and school staff to verify completion of our daily symptom screening. Our goal is to keep schools open for full days, five days a week.
Based on feedback from PPS students and families, the deadline to complete CrisisGo is now 7:50 AM. This deadline allows schools to print out the names of students who have not done the screening and place reminder calls so that those students can enter school and begin their day.
The Princeton Health Department has asked that PPS stress the importance of having all students and staff complete the screening every day (including weekday holidays if possible).
COVID-19 Decision Protocols for Isolation and Quarantine
PPS determines when close contacts must quarantine based on criteria provided by the Princeton Health Department, CDC, and NJ State guidelines.
Social/physical distancing will be increased to six feet (from three feet) when our local community is at risk of high transmissibility (based on recommendations by the Princeton Health Department). During these periods, the Princeton Health Department will consider students who are less than six feet way for more than 15 minutes (cumulative) to be close contacts.
- The number of days that COVID-19 positive students are required to isolate can fluctuate (increasing from 10 to 14) depending on what is happening in the local community.
- When the risk of transmissibility is high, students required to quarantine will be in quarantine for ten days (up from seven days) Students who must quarantine or isolate are able to participate in remote learning within two days of being identified as a close contact.
- Students who are vaccinated and identified as close contacts do not need to quarantine unless their COVID test is positive.
If you have a child older than 12 and you are looking for a vaccination appointment, please reach out to email@example.com and we can help.
Contact tracing, in combination with isolation and quarantine, is used by health departments to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by 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.
Student and Staff COVID-19 Screening and Testing
PPS is partnering with Medicat to provide twice a week PCR screening testing to any staff member who is unvaccinated. This procedure began on October 5. Currently, all staff have been uploading documentation of their vaccination status via a secure portal.
PPS is also partnering with the NJ Department of Health and Mirimus to provide a voluntary school screening testing program for students.
Remote Instruction During Quarantine and Isolation
Princeton Public Schools is committed to in-person, five-day, full-day school for our students starting September 9. PPS will follow the Governor's order and the requirements from the Department of Education, which stipulate that the only option for remote learning is when a student is either in isolation due to a positive COVID diagnosis, or if they have been identified as a close contact and need to quarantine if they are not vaccinated. Needing to quarantine after travel is not included. For school year 2021-22 there is no option to request remote learning due to concerns about virus spread.
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. COVID quarantine/isolation days are the only remote days that can be counted for attendance purposes.
Students who have a significant medical issue, are undergoing treatment, or recovering from a medical situation such as surgery, can receive home instruction on a short-term basis. Home instruction requires a medical doctor's note requesting home instruction for a specific period. Students who receive home instruction work with a teacher for one hour a day--this is not a full-day schedule because the student is ill and is not able to participate for a full day of instruction. If they can, they will be in school.
Home schooling--which is different than home instruction--involves a family opting to withdraw their child from Princeton Public Schools. Parents who choose this option need to notify their school in writing to withdraw the child from school. A family can re-enroll their child in a PPS school at any time.
We understand that some families are struggling with issues related to health and the pandemic. Medical experts are telling us that this wave of illness is expected to peak in October. A worsening situation in Mercer County or the state of New Jersey could conceivably result in the Governor changing course and permitting remote learning as an option, but at this point most experts hope this will not be necessary. PPS will continue to monitor guidance from the NJ Department of Health and the Department of Education closely and will provide updates to our families when new information is received.
Princeton continues to be in a public health situation where unvaccinated students and staff must quarantine after travel lasting 24 hours or longer outside of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York or Delaware. Unvaccinated staff and students must continue to follow the CDC guidelines which require 10 days of quarantine without testing or seven days of quarantine with a negative test taken on day 3-5 after travel. The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.
For those who are vaccinated, New Jersey residents returning home after travel do not need to quarantine but should still follow travel guidance from the CDC, the NJ Department of Health, and all local health and safety protocols. Here is more detailed travel information from the New Jersey Department of Health and from the CDC.
Before Coming to School
Please complete a Daily Health Screening form each morning for each child and submit it via CrisisGo by 7:50 AM.
If a symptom is reported, the nurse will reach out to the parents/guardians to discuss recommendations, which could include (1) student may proceed to school; (2) student should stay home and monitor symptoms, until a follow up conversation and determination is made by the school nurse; or (3) the student should seek medical care for further evaluation and will need clearance by a medical provider before returning to school. The same procedures apply to staff members.
During the School Day
If a student has symptoms of illness during the school day, he or she will be sent home. Parents and guardians should pick up the child within 30 minutes of being called. If this is not possible, please provide an emergency contact who can get to school within 30 minutes. The person picking up the child should be listed as an emergency contact. Emergency contacts can be added via PowerSchool.
Social Distancing Protocols
Staff and students will maintain three to six feet of physical distance to the degree possible given the needs of individual students. When a student requires additional assistance, such as a physical prompt (pointing to an item on a page), the staff member will stay in close proximity to the student for the least amount of time possible. Staff will work with individual students to build skills of independence.
PPS encourages all classes to eat outdoors. There have been recent changes that make this process easier. Nutri-Serve (our food service provider) has switched, at our request, to a more limited “grab and go” option (bagel bag or bagged “hot” lunch). Selections will be further limited to items that are easy to eat if a student is seated outside on a beach towel.
Extra Help with Lunches
All school principals have received volunteer application packets, which they may share with potential volunteers. Any adult who comes into contact with students must comply with certain screening and security rules. If needed, principals will select individuals who can consistently be available. Principals will determine the way in which the school needs support. We appreciate parents who have been providing material such as beach towels and blankets that enable students to eat outside on the grass.
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.
If you have a child older than 12 and you are looking for a vaccination appointment, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help.
At this time, information has not been shared with PPS on when a vaccine will be available for children under 12 years old, but our medical experts will keep us updated and we will share what we learn with you. We will likewise provide any updates on booster shots.
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.
PPS is working with health experts to determine protocols for using the pool.
Art and Music in 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.
Mental Health Support
You can talk to trained counselors 24/7:
Text: START to 678678
(24/7, TEXT or CALL): 888-222-2228
TransLifeline 877-565-8860 (10am-4am)
If you need crisis support, text NAMI to 741741
PerformCare Tel: (877-652-7624)
The New Jersey Department of Children and Family's System of Care (CSOC) provides all children and adolescents – regardless of insurance status - with coordinated access to mental health supports, substance use treatment and services for intellectual and developmental disabilities.