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District Health Update and FAQ, Part 6

 

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Good Afternoon,

 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are looking forward to enjoying the holiday season!

 

In the past two weeks, New Jersey has seen a 40% increase in COVID-19 cases, most probably due to congregations during the November break and social gatherings during the Thanksgiving holiday. Unfortunately, we have also seen an increase in the number of cases in our school district. Since November 22nd, there have been 14 additional COVID-19 cases. This brings our district total up to 37 since the start of the school year. 

 

As always, we have engaged in contact tracing and those exposed to the positive cases were quarantined. Please note that every positive case continues to be reported to the health department and determinations on quarantines are also made as a team collaboratively with them. We still believe that, despite the uptick in cases around our area, that our overall cases have remained relatively low. We also believe that our quarantine procedures prevented additional cases from spreading, since over 50% of the positive cases did not report to school during their contagious periods. 

 

Our latest "Frequently Asked Questions", based on the Parent Communication Form questions, can be found below. Please keep these questions coming! We will do our best to answer any questions asked or address any concerns you may have.

 

As always, thank you for your continued support. 

 

Happy Holidays! 

Dr. Daniela Riser

 

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Frequently Asked Questions, Part 6

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Our Parent Communication Form is still open! If there are any questions you would like to ask the district administration, please visit this link to ask: https://forms.gle/Xcx1QzgPN52JFH6DA

 

Q: Why is Secaucus still wearing uniforms? I truly was shocked at the cost when I bought them for my daughter (entering K) this year. Also, she now needs two wardrobes, one for school and one not for school. Additionally, if uniforms are so important why do they have so many dress down days- most require me to buy yet another time to match whatever the them is. OfCourse, participation is optional, but no student wants to feel left out of a “fun” day. 

A: Over the years, we have found parents to be overwhelmingly in favor of the dress code policy in our schools. Studies in other school districts have also indicated that a student dress code has proven to increase student achievement by encouraging students to concentrate more on their studies and less on their wardrobe. We, as a district, feel that having students wear similar attire reduces the number of HIB cases and promotes a more equitable classroom environment for students with different socioeconomic backgrounds. Families in need that require assistance with purchasing uniforms or other clothing can contact Secaucus Social Services at (201) 330-2000.

Q: Dr. Riser, Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to ask questions. My daughter was denied a Covid vaccine today although the Board of Health confirmed with me via phone that her appt was secured. Will there be future opportunities to get children vaccinated? Thank you for your time!

A: The Town of Secaucus has since offered two more vaccine clinics for students age 5-11. If more parents are interested in their children receiving vaccines, the district will reach out to the town to let them know. In addition, many pharmacies around the state are also offering vaccines to all eligible children and adults (boosters too!) Online appointments can be easily made on their websites. In addition, you can visit the governments vaccine website here: https://www.vaccines.gov/

Q: I heard that the middle school bathrooms are closed, and that the students need a key in order to get in. My daughter complains about the long trip in order to get the key, what will happen next?

A: Periodically, some bathrooms will need to be locked for maintenance in all of our district schools. Also, if an incident occurs in a bathroom, sometimes it is locked for an internal investigation to occur. We are not locking bathrooms to prevent student access and most of the bathrooms in each school will be open for student use. 

Q: Why aren’t you paying your substitutes more? They can make more money going across town or elsewhere to sub.

A: We have increased our substitute salary this year, making it comparable to other schools in the area and actually exceeding the Hudson County average. Our limited budget for the school year will prevent us from raising our substitute rate even higher, since costs associated with this recent increase need to be offset by cuts in other areas. However, we feel that our pay increase has attracted more substitute teachers to our district, as indicated by our coverage schedules. 

Q: There are Tic Toc videos of my child being posted by other students. How can I prevent this bullying?

A: As Tic Toc is not endorsed or condoned by our school district, we can not handle such a situation unless it impacts the daily occurrences of our school day with the students. If your child is being bothered in school, they should immediately report this to the main office. An investigation will take place and any issue that impacts instruction in our schools will be handled accordingly. We can not investigate allegations unless they are reported to us directly. Also, the issue seems to be a form of conflict, since “bullying” is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance that involves a protected class. Over 90% of our social media investigations have resulted in a form of conflict, not bullying.

Q: Cases of COVID-19 are rising in the state. Can we go virtual again?

A: As previously stated, the governor rescinded our option to go completely virtual this school year. The county department of health, in combination with the county superintendent and/or the state, would have to order our schools (or district) to go virtual in order for it to happen. In hindsight, we have a relatively low COVID-19 case count almost 4 months into the school year. We will continue to be diligent in preventing the potential spread of the virus in our schools by adhering to strict quarantining guidelines over the holiday break and engaging in contract tracing with the local and county health department. 

Q: I’ve been seeing postings that say issues in school are being ignored and some parents are trying to handle it themselves by threatening people on Facebook! Is there anyone I can report this to?

A: Unfortunately, some parents are choosing to turn to social media instead of the school administration to deal with their child’s social issues with other students. We, as a district, do not recommend or condone this type of approach to conflict resolution. If an issue is impacting your child’s performance in school, we urge you to reach out to the guidance counselors or school principal to discuss the issue. In addition, we welcome you to share any issues or concerns on the Parent Communication form. Please know that if you indicate that you would like your issue to remain confidential, or if it's a sensitive issue, we will never post it on the public FAQs. We will reach out to you personally to hopefully resolve the issue. 

 

 

 

 

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