• **How to translate the Website and Providing Comments on the Safe Return Plan.**

    વેબ સાઇટ અનુવાદ અને સુરક્ષિત વળતર યોજના પર ટિપ્પણીઓ પ્રદાન કરવી            

    Traducción del sitio web y comentarios sobre el Plan de Retorno Seguro  


    The Federal American Rescue Plan Act, which we will call the “Act” , requires each district seeking monetary assistance under the Act to create a Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Service, we will call it the Safe Return Plan.  The Act also requires that the district seek comments from the public on the proposed Safe Return Plan.  The Plan must be reviewed, and if necessary, revised every six months.  The district must also seek comments on any revisions. 

    Our Safe Return Plan below provides some details about how the district will apply the current guidance from the Federal, state and local governmental, educational and health agencies in the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year assuming that all teaching and learning will remain in person.  Since the original Safe Return Plan and the December, 2021 revisions were drafted, that guidance has changed and has resulted in the revisions to the Safe Return Plan acknowledged by the Board of Education in June of 2022.  Those revisions have already been incorporated, where applicable in Board Policy 1648.11 The Road Forward - Covid 19 - Health and Safety and in the Appendices to that Plan. Further revisions to the Plan, based upon updated guidance from the CDC, NJDOE and NJDOH which was released shortly before the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, are incorporated below.  

    Please see the different areas of the Safe Return Plan which has been revised below.  Please click on the form link to provide comments about that area.  This form will remain open through November 13, 2022.  The district will consider these comments before the revision to the Safe Return Plan is finalized.  There is an additional link at the end of the Safe Return Plan in case you have any general questions or other comments.  

    1.  Maintaining Health and Safety

    A. Universal and correct wearing of masks - The district will continue to follow the applicable Federal, state and local governmental, educational and health department guidance with regard to the wearing of masks. The  district will follow the face-covering requirement as described in Board Policy 1648.11 The Road Forward - Covid 19 - Health and Safety (Appendix C). Currently there is no executive order in effect which makes the wearing of masks in schools mandatory. 

    However, since wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator consistently and correctly reduces the risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19, there may be circumstances when universal indoor masking is recommended, and circumstances where mask wearing by certain individuals is recommended.

    To help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 Franklin Township Public Schools will require masking in school nurses’ offices, when someone who is feeling ill is present, and rooms designated as isolation rooms, regardless of the current COVID-19 Community Level. 

    Persons who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to wear a face covering upon return to district facilities following their applicable isolation period.  The specific timelines of this isolation period and mask requirement can be found in the district’s Isolation Protocol.

    Individuals who have known or suspected exposure to COVID-19 will be advised of the recommendation to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator while in district buildings; at indoor extracurricular events and on school buses for 10 days from their last exposure, regardless of their vaccination status or history of prior infection. 

    Additionally, should extenuating circumstances, as determined by the district in conjunction with the local health department warrant, Franklin Township Public Schools may reinstate the mandatory wearing of masks by staff, students, and visitors in the indoor portion of the school district premises, at extracurricular activities and on all school buses and vans.

    Franklin Township Public Schools will consider the applicable Federal, state and local governmental, educational and health department guidance as well as the COVID-19 Community Level and number of positive cases reported in district schools to determine in what circumstances mandatory face coverings may be required, i.e., on a district-wide; school wide or other cohort level.   Should mandatory face coverings, district wide or for a particular group, be required, the school community will be notified as soon as practicable.

    When the wearing of masks indoor school premises is not mandatory no student or staff member shall be prevented from wearing a mask should they choose to do so.  Staff or student families may be immunocompromised, have a family member at home who is at risk of getting very sick or just choose to wear a face covering.  The Board prohibits the bullying of students or staff members who wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks.  Any individual found to have bullied another for wearing a mask will be disciplined in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct or applicable staff protocol.  

    Should Franklin Township Public Schools require the mandatory use of face masks by staff, students, and visitors in the indoor portion of the school district premises, there will be exceptions in the following circumstances: When doing so would inhibit the individual’s health, such as when the individual is exposed to extreme heat indoors (where an individual is seeking a medical exemption, documentation from a medical professional supporting this exception); When the individual has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face masks without assistance; When a student’s documented medical condition or disability, as reflected in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Educational Plan pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, precludes use of a face mask (where an individual is seeking a medical exemption, documentation from a medical professional supporting this exception); When the individual is under two (2) years of age; When the individual is engaged in activity that cannot physically be performed while wearing a mask, such as eating or drinking, or playing a musical instrument that would be obstructed by a face mask;  When the individual is engaged in high-intensity aerobic or anaerobic activity; When a student is participating in high-intensity physical activities during a physical education class in a well-ventilated location and able to maintain a physical distance of six feet from all other individuals; or When wearing a face mask creates an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task.

    Outdoors: In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors. As such, FTPS will allow students to remove their masks outdoors in consideration of these recommendations and at the discretion of their teacher whenever mask wearing is considered mandatory.

    Schools will continue to use diagrams showing the correct way to wear a face covering and staff and students will be reminded of this requirement, as applicable, using the Positive Behavior in Schools framework as a reinforcement tool. 

    Submit comments on this section here.

    B. Physical distancing (e.g., including use of cohorts/podding) - The district will continue to follow the applicable Federal, state and local governmental and health department guidance with regard to physical distancing.  The district will use Board Policy 1648.11 The Road Forward - Covid 19 - Health and Safety (Appendix D).  

    Physical distancing, while not mandatory, may be used as a strategy to control the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and other illnesses. 

    School-based safety teams will work with their building administration to determine how physical distancing strategies can best be utilized in their building. 

    Should extenuating circumstances, as determined by the district in conjunction with the local health department warrant, Franklin Township Public Schools may mandate physical distancing to the extent practicable on school district premises, at extracurricular activities and on all school buses and vans. 

    Franklin Township Public Schools will consider the applicable Federal, state and local governmental, educational and health department guidance as well as the COVID-19 Community Level and number of positive cases reported in district schools to determine to what extent physical distancing will be mandated in the buildings of the district, at district-sponsored extracurricular activities or on school buses and vans. 

    Physical distancing strategies will be communicated to student families at the beginning of the school year and again as soon as practicable should these requirements change.  

    Consideration of the COVID-19 Community Levels as well as the number of positive COVID-19 cases reported in the district will be a factor in the approval and execution of field trips that may take place during the 2022-2023 school year. 

    Before and after-school, care options will follow all applicable guidelines for Daycare Centers. 

    Submit comments on this section.  

    C. Handwashing and respiratory etiquette - The district will continue to follow the applicable Federal, state and local governmental and health department guidance with regard to handwashing and respiratory etiquette.  The district will use the hand washing and respiratory etiquette requirements as described in Board Policy 1648.11 The Road Forward - Covid 19 - Health and Safety  (Appendix E).  

    This part of the Safe Return Plan will cover handwashing procedures and how the district will respond to situations where students might gather. 

    The district will prepare and maintain hand sanitizing stations with alcohol-based hand sanitizers (at least 60% alcohol) or other approved sanitizers, when and where appropriate. These stations will be located in areas described in the district Cleaning Procedure Manual. Children ages five and younger will be supervised when using hand sanitizer.  Each school’s Safety Team will review and revise, if necessary, its school-wide plan for hand washing. Schools will continue to use diagrams to depict hand washing practices. Staff and students will be reminded of those practices, especially during key times in the day (for example, before and after eating, after using the restroom, and after recess). The district will teach and reinforce covering coughs and sneezes to help keep individuals from getting and spreading infectious diseases, including COVID-19. The Positive Behavior in Schools framework will be used to reinforce these protocols. 

    The implementation of the curriculum for physical education and fine, visual and performing arts classes will continue to be revised to comply with applicable health department guidance, if necessary. Extra and co-curricular activities will be offered in person and all applicable health department guidance will be considered.  The district may implement screening testing for students in extra and co-curricular activities. For example, close contact athletics, band, choir or theater, at key times of the year and/or in response to an elevated COVID-19 Community Level or increased positive COVID-19 cases reported in the district. Athletics will continue to be offered in compliance with the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association rules and in consideration of any governmental or health guidance.  Middle school athletics, provided there is sufficient interest, will also be offered in consideration of any governmental or health guidance.

    Should extenuating circumstances, as determined by the district in conjunction with the local health department warrant, Franklin Township Public Schools may postpone or cancel extracurricular, co-curricular or athletic programs or events.  

    Submit comments on this section.  

    D. Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation - The district will continue to follow the applicable Federal, state and local governmental and health department guidance with regard to maintaining healthy facilities, including guidance regarding ventilation.  The district will use the requirements regarding maintenance of healthy facilities as described in  Board Policy 1648.11 The Road Forward - Covid 19 - Health and Safety (Appendix H).  

    The district is prepared with supplies for the 2022-2023 school year including industrial sanitizing wipes, soap and hand sanitizer. The district will use cleaning/disinfecting schedules, targeted areas to be cleaned, and methods and materials to be used, which are contained in a procedure manual posted on the district website. This manual has been reviewed and revised and will continue to be reviewed and revised as needed. The district will continue its use of bottle filters in place of drinking fountains.

    Franklin Township Public Schools will continue to consider the applicable Federal, state and local governmental and health department guidance with regard to maintaining healthy facilities, including guidance regarding ventilation. In the 2020-2021 school year, the Board of Education authorized a field study of the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in the schools of the district.  This study was completed and deficiencies noted in the report were corrected.  Other general recommendations found in the report, for system modification are being reviewed and continue to be implemented where feasible. This includes upgrading filtration systems, where and when practical, in district HVAC units with containment filtration systems that are designed to filter air equal to or better than a MERV 13 filter.  This is the type of filter recommended by ASHRAE who are experts in the field. Additionally, recirculated air units will continue to have a fresh air component, and windows will continue to be opened, if practical, to further assist in bringing fresh air into indoor spaces. If air conditioning is provided in the space, filter(s) for A/C units will be maintained and changed according to manufacturer recommendations and in accordance with the district’s preventive maintenance plan. Air purifiers may be utilized in common areas. 

    Submit comments on this section.  

    E. Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine - In collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments - Franklin Township Public Schools will continue to follow the applicable Federal, state and local governmental and health department guidance with regard to contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine.  The district will use the contact tracing/isolation and quarantine procedures as described in Board Policy 1648.11 The Road Forward - Covid 19 - Health and Safety (Appendices I and J) .  

    Franklin Township Public Schools will post a message on the district website as well as the website of each school listing the symptoms associated with COVID-19 Principals will routinely remind their student families to keep children who are feeling ill at home.  Additionally, absence reporting procedures are reviewed by the building principal and are outlined in the District Student Code of Conduct. 

    Symptomatic students and staff will be treated in a manner consistent with the Isolation Protocol, which is developed by district nurses and updated as needed.  Staff and students who become symptomatic for COVID-19 while in school will be sent to the school nurse.  The symptomatic staff member will be sent home.  The symptomatic student will be kept in the school's isolation room where they will be supervised until a parent/guardian is able to pick them up. Symptomatic staff and student families of symptomatic students will be notified that PCR testing as soon as possible is the recommendation of the CDC for persons with symptoms of COVID-19. Additionally, when the district is notified that a staff member or student has developed COVID-19 symptoms outside of the school building, the symptomatic staff and student families of symptomatic students will be told: that the symptomatic individual should remain at home; and also notified that PCR testing as soon as possible is the recommendation of the CDC for persons with symptoms of COVID-19.  Franklin Township Public Schools will consider the applicable Federal, state and local governmental, educational and health department guidance as well as the COVID-19 Community Level and number of positive cases reported in district schools to determine in what circumstances any additional response to symptomatic staff or students would be warranted.   

    Should the response to symptomatic staff or students change, the Isolation Protocol will be updated, posted on the district and school websites and acknowledged by the Board.  The school community will be notified of any changes to the Isolation Protocol as soon as practicable.

    Students and staff who have been made to isolate due to symptoms or having tested positive for COVID-19 will be treated in a manner consistent with the Isolation Protocol, which is developed by district nurses, in conjunction with the local health department and updated as needed. Staff and students who have been made to isolate due to symptoms or having tested positive for COVID-19 will be excluded from district buildings during their isolation period.  Upon their return to a district building, the individual will be required to wear a well-fitting mask and observe other precautions as outlined in the Isolation Protocol. Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be eligible to “listen in” to their classes during their period of isolation.

    All reported positive cases of COVID-19 by staff or students of the district will be reported to the appropriate health agencies.

    Franklin Township Public Schools will consider the applicable Federal, state and local governmental, educational and health department guidance as well as the COVID-19 Community Level and number of positive cases reported in district schools to determine in what circumstances any change to its response to staff or students who are made to isolate would be warranted. Should the response to staff or students who have been made to isolate change, the Isolation Protocol will be updated, posted on the district and school websites and acknowledged by the Board.  The school community will be notified of any changes to the Isolation Protocol as soon as practicable.

    Quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19 in a school setting.  Contact tracing will not be implemented.   Those who may have been exposed to the person who tested positive will be notified via a general notification letter of the CDC’s recommendations. 

    All reported positive cases of COVID-19 by staff or students of the district will be reported to the appropriate health agencies. Additionally, the reported case of a student or staff member who tested positive for COVID-19 will be included in a chart on the district website. 

    Franklin Township Public Schools will consider the applicable Federal, state and local governmental, educational and health department guidance as well as the COVID-19 Community Level and number of positive cases reported in district schools to determine in what circumstances any change to its response to staff or students who may have been exposed to a person who had tested positive for COVID-19 would be warranted. 

    Should the response to those who may have been exposed to a staff or student who has tested positive for COVID-19 change, the Isolation Protocol will be updated, posted on the district and school websites and acknowledged by the Board.  The school community will be notified of any changes to the Isolation Protocol as soon as practicable.

    Submit comments on this section.  

    F. Diagnostic and screening testing - Franklin Township Public Schools will continue to follow the applicable Federal, state and local governmental and health department guidance with regard to diagnostic and screening testing. The procedures for testing are detailed in Board Policy 1648.11 The Road Forward - Covid 19 - Health and Safety (Appendix K). 

    The district will make symptomatic staff and the families of symptomatic students aware that the CDC recommendation for individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 is to have a PCR test as soon as possible.The district will provide information about diagnostic testing sites to symptomatic staff and the families of symptomatic students. Franklin Township Public Schools will consider the applicable Federal, state and local governmental, educational and health department guidance as well as the COVID-19 Community Level and number of positive cases reported in district schools to determine in what circumstances further use of diagnostic testing might be warranted. Should further diagnostic testing be implemented, the Isolation Protocol will be updated, posted on the district and school websites and acknowledged by the Board.  The school community will be notified of any changes to the Isolation Protocol as soon as practicable.

    The district will continue to advertise and coordinate facility usage for screening testing opportunities.In light of NJ Executive Order 302, screening testing will no longer be mandated for unvaccinated covered workers. Franklin Township Public Schools will consider the applicable Federal, state and local governmental, educational and health department guidance as well as the COVID-19 Community Level and number of positive cases reported in district schools to determine in what circumstances screening testing may be required, i.e., on a district-wide; school wide or other cohort level. Should screening testing, district wide or for a particular group, be required, the school community will be notified as soon as practicable.

    Testing results will be reported to public health authorities by the entity conducting the testing as required.

    Submit comments on this section.  

    G. Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible - Franklin Township Public Schools will continue to follow the applicable Federal, state and local governmental and health department guidance with regard to vaccinations as noted in Board Policy 1648.11 The Road Forward - Covid 19 - Health and Safety (Appendix A) 

    Franklin Township Public Schools will  promote equitable access to vaccination and inform the school community of the importance of staying up to date on routine vaccinations to prevent illness from many different infections by: providing information about COVID-19 vaccines and other recommended vaccines and ensuring the communication meets the needs of people with limited English proficiency who require language services and individuals with disabilities who require accessible formats; providing information to encourage trust and confidence in COVID-19 vaccines as recommended by the CDC; continuing to promote vaccination clinics and other vaccination opportunities from trusted partners such as the local health department and Zufall Health and continuing to make district facilities available to the Township and other entities to host vaccination clinics.  

    Submit comments on this section.  

    H. Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies - Franklin Township Public Schools will continue to follow the applicable Federal, state and local governmental and health department guidance with regard to appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies.  The district will continue use of the appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities including an exception to the face covering requirement for a student with a documented medical condition or disability, as reflected in an IEP, which precludes the use of face covering.  When necessary, the purchase and use of specialized Personal Protective Equipment and barriers for teachers and staff who work with students with special needs to ensure the delivery of related services.  When applicable, the broader criteria used for an individual to be considered a close contact of a symptomatic or COVID-19 positive individual, for quarantine purposes in a Special Education setting.  

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    2.  Ensuring Continuity of Services 

    In 2022-2023, the district will continue its partnership with Rutgers Behavioral Health, Effective School Solutions, and the Positive Impact Mentoring Program to support the health of students at greater risk. Academic needs will continue to be addressed by a Multi-Tier System of Supports as well as through the use of acceleration, a targeted approach in which the grade-level teacher starts with grade-level content and strategically builds in key concepts from the previous grade level when students need them to master the grade-level work. This “just-in-time teaching” ensures students spend more time on the work of their current grade level. Additionally, the district has teamed up with Head Start for the 22-23 school year to meet the needs of our students and families.The physical needs of students will continue to be addressed by the school nurses and breakfast and lunch will be offered to district students daily.  The Somerset County Greater YMCA will provide before and after child CARE programs at each of the district’s elementary schools as long as enrollment supports the need for such a program. 

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    3.  Provide Comments or Questions on an area not covered above.