Golda Och Academy is tracking news and information about the spread of COVID-19 and variants in our community and travel destinations. This is an evolving situation — please check this page regularly for the most up-to-date information.
We are beginning our weekly surveillance testing starting on Monday, October 25. Please read the following information very carefully, as it contains important information and instructions.
All families should complete the testing consent form ASAP for each child regardless of vaccine status. Please scan the QR code to complete the form online. Completion of this form will enable the lab to email you directly with your child’s test results. Having everyone complete this form enables us to do the testing on various populations at any given time.
Complete the consent form by scanning the QR code at the bottom of this email. The form can also be found here.
Test kits will be sent home Monday, October 25, with your child. We will send an extra kit the first week of testing so you have a backup in case your child is ever absent on a Monday distribution day or if the kit is damaged. Only return one completed test kit per week.
Place the test vial back in the provided biohazard ziplock bag. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. The bag has the label with the child’s information. Without the bag, the sample cannot be shipped and the lab cannot process it.
Return the sample to school with your child in the provided labeled bag. Tests will be collected in the classroom. Please be careful how this sample is transported to protect it from damage (such as being crushed by books).
If test kits are not received by the school on a “Testing Tuesday,” you will be responsible for obtaining a PCR test on your own and uploading the results to Magnus by Friday. A negative result must be received by Friday to enable your child to remain in school. Alternatively, you can personally deliver a kit to the school in the morning if it got left at home.
If a kit is not returned by your child, you will be notified by email and must confirm receipt.
With our new weekly COVID-19 testing protocol in place for all unvaccinated students, we anticipate periodically receiving positive test results. If these results are received when students are not present in school, then we will notify the parents of the affected student to isolate them at home, and inform the entire cohort that they, too, need to quarantine at home. As usual, we will provide families with the date when they should test for COVID, when quarantine will conclude, and plans for remote instruction in the interim.
In the event that we learn during the school day that a student has tested positive, then we will follow the following protocol:
Nurse Roberta or Nurse Ilena will contact the parents to confirm that they have received the results, ask them to come to school to collect their child immediately, and ask for permission to inform the child in a reassuring but clear manner that they are being picked up because their test result was positive.
The nurse will next inform their campus principal of the situation and ask them to inform the Head of School and relevant faculty and staff.
The nurse will come to the classroom and ask the student to accompany her to the office, where they will wait to be collected.
The Head of School will notify parents of other children in the section that their child has been exposed to COVID, should be collected from school and commence isolation. These students will not be allowed to take a bus home.
The Head of School will send a general notice to the GOA community mentioning the infection by grade level.
The classroom teachers will inform their students that, “Because of an infection in our class, we are going to switch to remote learning. Your parents will come to pick you up soon.” Meanwhile, teachers will keep their students separate from other sections and staff, whether in the classroom or ideally outdoors, until they are collected.
If this situation develops close to dismissal it may not be practicable for parents to make a special trip to collect their students, but we will still communicate with them so they can take measures to minimize contact with children in other cohorts.
Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. All eligible GOA faculty and staff are required to provide proof of their vaccination prior to the start of school.
Vaccination is mandated for all GOA students 16+. The first dose must be administered within two weeks, prior to the start of school, with the record uploaded directly to Magnus.
As of November 3, the FDA and CDC have extended the Emergency Use Authorization of a pediatric dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 to children aged 5-11. Please see the Essex County COVID-19 Vaccination Locationswebpage for information on how to make an appointment, or consult your local pharmacy.
Achieving a high rate of vaccination for all of our students will confer benefits on our entire school. Students who are fully vaccinated (two weeks past the second dose) by the January 3 return to school will not be required to test weekly, nor must they quarantine after exposure to an infected individual (unless they develop symptoms) or upon return from travel beyond our contiguous states. Moreover, we hope to reinstate our Lower School Aftercare and Funtracks programs soon, which will be limited to fully vaccinated students since they blend cohorts.
At this time we are not imposing a vaccine mandate on all students covered by the EUA. We realize that this is a new product, and that families need time to consult with their medical providers.
We strongly encourage all vaccine-eligible members of our community to be fully vaccinated for their own health and the health of our community.
Moreover, access by adult visitors to the GOA campus will be restricted to those who are fully vaccinated and share a copy of their record prior to their first visit. If you make an appointment on campus, please be sure to send a photo of your vaccine card to Della Irbyat least a day prior to your visit.
Access by visitors to the GOA campus will be restricted to those who are fully vaccinated and share a copy of their record prior to their first visit. If you make an appointment on campus, please be sure to send a photo of your vaccine card to Della Irbyat least a day prior to your visit.
We are looking forward to using the SchoolPass app again this year for our entire school, Pre-K through 12th, to manage our wellness screening processes as well as our dismissal procedures in the Lower School
The SchoolPass app enables us to screen vehicles entering our campus, tracks student transportation plans, and consolidates real-time schedule changes for the carpool line, buses and after-school activities. In short, parents and caregivers will now be able to manage and communicate dismissal changes using the SchoolPass app on their smartphones, or through the SchoolPass website.
SchoolPass will also be used every morning, by every member of our community, to manage our wellness screening process. By 7:30 am, everyone will be required to login and do a wellness check for all child(ren). Upon arrival to school, Lower School parents/caregivers will be asked to show their green check mark (on their phone) to the staff on hand. Upper School students with cellphones will be asked to present the green check mark either through the app or via screenshot from a parent's device. Please be sure to complete the screening(s) before arriving at school.
Those who have already set up an account in the past will continue to use their current login information. Please note that everyone must have the most updated app downloaded on their phone. You can find it in the app store by searching “SchoolPass.”
New GOA families will receive an email directly from SchoolPass with login information and instructions regarding how to access and use the website and app. Please note, this email will be coming directly from “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
If you are having any trouble logging in, please contact SchoolPass directly at (301) 255-1870.
Overview of SchoolPass and How We Will Use it at GOA
GOA uses SchoolPass to check for all schedule changes throughout the day, in lieu of individual communication by email or phone. As parent/caregiver, you will be responsible for communicating any dismissal changes with the school through either the SchoolPass website, or the app.
SchoolPass is used to manage our carpool line, with RFID stickers affixed to car windshields. These stickers are scanned by our staff as vehicles move through our lot. If there is no sticker, the approved driver will give his/her name to the person scanning and it will then be inputted.
We have assigned two RFID stickers for each family to place on the windshield of up to two vehicles. You will also specific directions for how to display the RFID sticker. For those who still have their stickers on their windshields, those will still be fully operational.
New families will receive an invitation from SchoolPass (it will be sent shortly after this email) that includes information for how to log in and how to download the “SchoolPass” app. If you do not receive an email, please notify Michael Newman (Lower School) at email@example.com or Crystal Hopkins (Upper School) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please also be sure to log out and log back into the app to reset any changes that have occurred during the summer.
Setting Up Your Child(ren)’s Dismissal Schedule
Parents/guardians must set a default schedule for their child on the SchoolPass website. You cannot do this from the app. This schedule should reflect how your child(ren) will go home on normal days, Monday through Friday. These defaults must be set in order to make changes in the future. Please note: default setting from last year may still be in place and should be edited if need-be. We are asking that this information be logged by the end of the day on Monday, September 6.
After you have set your default schedule, you can make 'moves' and 'changes' to your child's schedule in the app, or on the website. These changes are managed exclusively by you and are sent to the school as you update them.
All dismissal changes must be made in SchoolPass no later than 2:30 pm Monday-Thursday, and no later than 1:00 pm on Fridays. Should you need to make a change after the system closes for the day (in an emergency situation), please contact the main office directly at 973-602-3700 (Lower School) or 973-602-3600 (Upper School).
If your student’s information is not up-to-date on SchoolPass, we will not have a record of it and it may impact how your child is dismissed.
When your vehicle travels through our carpool line, the RFID sticker you have affixed to your windshield will be scanned by a teacher/staff member who will be stationed outside to identify your vehicle. RFID tag installation instructions will be attached to the RFID sticker that is sent to you.
After a vehicle is scanned coming into the lot, the dismissal information associated with that vehicle will be transmitted to the teachers inside the building (through their smartphones/computers). Students will then be called to the pickup area to go to their cars.
If a car does not have a RFID sticker, the driver will be asked to provide his/her name or carpool number to the staff member outside.
Please be sure that anyone picking up your child is an authorized driver in your carpool, or that if there is a dismissal change on a particular day, it has been made on SchoolPass.
We appreciate everyone’s cooperation in using this system. Our main objective is, and always will be, the safety and well-being of our students.
GOA is committed to in-person instruction, which is by far the most effective educational format. Like other schools, we are not planning to offer a remote option this year as a matter of course. There may be circumstances in which the entire school must go remote, and there may be cases of individual medical emergency that would require a brief exception to this policy, but we are not able to provide the high level of instruction that we expect at GOA with an extended hybrid format.
Both GOA campuses will include unvaccinated students at the start of the school year. In accordance with AAP and CDC guidelines, we are continuing to institute a layered approach including social distancing and other measures to reduce risk for our students and staff. All individuals — students and adults, vaccinated and unvaccinated — are required to wear masks in our buildings. At the Upper School, students may be required to wear masks outdoors when social distancing is not possible. At the Lower School, masks are mandatory indoors and outdoors, with the exception of eating and drinking.
Recognizing that NJ remains in the yellow (moderate risk) category on the NJDOH Matrix, there are no changes to our school’s quarantine policy due to exposure at this time. GOA protocol for unvaccinated students is to quarantine after an exposure to an infected individual or after travel outside New Jersey and its bordering states. The quarantine for known COVID exposure as a household or close contact remains 14 days. Should there be any changes made to this guidance and/or if our region’s status changes, we will provide updates accordingly.
We further ask all members of our community to exercise caution when entering public spaces, including synagogues. Even fully vaccinated people can spread the infection to others, endangering our younger children and others who are especially vulnerable. Given the highly-transmissible nature of the Delta variant and significant incidence of breakthrough infections, we should all wear masks in such spaces.
As per the NJDOH and CDC guidelines, the following is the current, updated (as of June 2021) guidance for quarantine and testing upon returning from travel (beyond the NY, PA, and DE corridor). Families are asked to follow these guidelines, tracking their post-quarantine days and providing test results (upon request) accordingly. Please note the day you return to NJ is Day #0. The day after return to NJ is Day #1. As always, please notify Nurse Ilena/Nurse Roberta if you are traveling so that they can provide specific guidance for your family.
New Jersey – and Golda Och Academy – continue to strongly recommend delaying travel until all members of the family are fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s recommendations for unvaccinated people.
For those unvaccinated students who must travel, travelers and residents returning from any U.S. state beyond the immediate region (NY, PA, and DE) should self-quarantine while following recommendations from the CDC:
COVID (PCR) test should be taken on day #3-5; if travelers test negative, they should be quarantined for a full 7 days after travel.
If not tested (or if the results are delayed), travelers should quarantine for 10 days after travel.
As a community, it is important that we do our best to minimize the risk of exposure to all of our students. At the forefront of this effort, we are reminding all Roadrunners and their families to adhere to the pledge in the graphic at the bottom of this email. If you are going to participate in Golda Och Athletics, we ask you to be mindful of your fellow Roadrunner and families in safeguarding practices both on and off the field.
Requirements for Winter Sports
COVID Vaccinations: For all sports in Winter 2021-22, all all age eligible participating athletes must be fully vaccinated prior to the start of the season. Proof of vaccination status must be provided by uploading the documents in Magnus. No student will be allowed to register for a winter sport without the proper document in Magnus.
Thank you for your continued support and cooperation. We look forward to a great Athletic season. Go Roadrunners!
Based on current health guidelines, we are unable to offer our Aftercare and Funtracks programs this fall. We hope to offer these later in the year and plan to update the community by Thanksgiving. Please reach out if you would like assistance brainstorming ideas to help with childcare after the school day.
Background Golda Och Academy (“GOA”) is mandating that all covered workers be fully vaccinated prior to student contact for the 2021-22 school year. The Administration, in consultation with the Board of Trustees, has decided that this requirement is necessary for the health and safety of our school community and to reduce the likelihood of an outbreak on our campus that could cause us to implement virtual instruction. We will also require that all eligible students and visitors to our school show proof of being fully vaccinated before being admitted to our schools or any school sponsored events or activities.
Covered Workers For purposes of this Policy, “covered workers” shall include all individuals employed by GOA, both full and part-time, including, but not limited to, administrators; teachers; educational support professionals; individuals providing food, custodial, and administrative support services; substitute teachers, whether employed directly by GOA or otherwise contracted; contractors; providers; and any other individuals performing work in the school district whose job duties require them to make regular visits to the school district, including volunteers. Covered workers do not include individuals who visit the school district only to provide one-time or limited duration repairs, services, or construction.
Proof of Vaccination Covered workers shall demonstrate proof of full vaccination status by presenting any of the following documents if they list COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for EUA by the FDA or the WHO, or that are approved for use by the same, along with an administration date for each dose:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Card issued to the vaccine recipient by the vaccination site, or an electronic or physical copy of the same;
Official record from the New Jersey Immunization Information System (NJIIS) or other State immunization registry;
A record from a health care provider’s portal/medical record system on official letterhead signed by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, physician's assistant, registered nurse, or pharmacist;
A military immunization or health record from the United States Armed Forces; or
Docket mobile phone application record or any State specific application that produces a digital health record.
This documentation shall be provided to Della Irby, Executive Assistant.
Exemption Requests Should a covered worker seek a medical exemption, he/she should do the following:
Obtain a letter from his/her physician documenting the reason for the exemption, including the underlying condition and the specific risk associated with obtaining the vaccine. The letter should include the physician’s signature and clearly identifiable contact information.
Provide the letter in a sealed envelope to George Paulick, Director of Human Resources.
The Director of HR will review all requests and may request additional information from the covered worker to make an informed decision. All decisions will be made based on the facts presented and any applicable legal requirements.
The Director of HR will not share any confidential medical information with any third parties without the covered worker’s consent.
Special Requirements for Exemption Approvals As a condition for continued employment, any covered worker who is granted a medical exemption will be required to obtain a negative COVID test (PCR) every week at their own expense and submit the results to Della Irby every Monday by 9:00 a.m. Home tests cannot be accepted. GOA shall track test results required by Executive Order 253 and must report those results to the local public health department.
Other Exemption Requests A covered worker seeking a request for an exemption from the vaccine for non-medical reasons must submit a detailed letter to the Head of School explaining in detail the reason for the exemption request. Such requests will be reviewed by the Head of School whose decision shall be final and binding.
Student COVID-19 Vaccine Exemption Forms and Policy