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Students in graduation

COVID-19 UPDATE - JULY 2022

Community,

As you know, we have closely followed the updates from the CDC, State of NJ, and other health officials throughout the pandemic. Through every step of the pandemic we have intentionally erred on the side of caution in an effort to protect one another. In our community, we are aware of several students and adults who are immunocompromised and, therefore, have put themselves at greater risk by being in school with us every day for the last year.

Nevertheless, with the COVID-19 numbers dropping dramatically over the last few weeks and national, state, and local officials indicating that it is time to make some changes to mitigation mandates, we will adjust our COVID strategies on Monday, March 7 to reflect the following:

1. Community-wide wearing of masks will no longer be required with exceptions as noted below. Everyone should always have a mask with them and ready to use if requested to do so at any time.

a. Masks will continue to be required in convocation or any other indoor, large-group settings such as division-wide Masses or prayer services until further notice.

b. Individual adults may require masks in their classrooms, offices, or other spaces as they see fit. Students who do not cooperate with a teacher's instructions will be removed from the room and face consequences for non-cooperation.

2. Mask rules for visitors of indoor activities - such as the play and interdisciplinary project - are at the discretion of the adult moderator of that activity.

3. Masks are no longer required in school vehicles with the same exception as 1b above.

4. Anyone who wishes to wear a mask may do so at any time.

5. We concluded our weekly testing program in May. We will make decisions about the need for future testing based on changing conditions. Please note: Unvaccinated faculty/staff are required to continue to be tested weekly per the Governor's Executive Order -- regardless of exemption status.

6. If there is a sudden spike in COVID cases or if there is an outbreak of other communicable viruses, we may return to wearing masks as needed.

7. Spectators are permitted for all outdoor spring activities. There is no vaccine requirement to attend these events.

8. All students and adults are still required to complete the daily symptoms checklist in Magnus.

9. Anyone who is sick should remain home. Those with COVID symptoms should get tested.

a. Anyone who tests positive for COVID must still isolate for at least 5 days. After 5 days, if there have been no symptoms for at least 24 hours, you can end the isolation. However, please wear a high-quality mask (such as an N95 or KN95) at all times for the next 5 days.

b. If after 5 days there are still symptoms, please isolate for the entire 10 days. If after 10 days the symptoms have not improved, please continue to isolate and consider seeking medical attention.

c. To count days begin with the day AFTER you tested positive (or began to feel symptoms) as Day #1.

10. We will no longer conduct contact tracing or ask people to quarantine because of an exposure to COVID.

11. Because of the increased risk of severe illness, those who are unvaccinated (even with exemptions) are strongly encouraged to continue wearing masks.

All members of the community are urged to continue to consider others at all times. Please remember that this pandemic is not over. While we are all learning how to live with COVID among us, we still must be smart and considerate.

Sincerely,

Glenn J. Cassidy, Ed.D.

Director of Emergency Management
St. Benedict's Prep School
973-792-5740