2020-2021 School Policies

Keeping Students Safe and Healthy on Campus

The Staff, Administration, and Board of Trustees would like our entire Elisabeth Morrow School (EMS) community to know that all of our policies and protocols  start with the overarching goal of having your children in EMS classrooms, taught by EMS teachers.  to deliver a full academic schedule to our students, as well as to provide the EMS experiences before and after classes that create a full social experience for your children.

We have a fierce belief that our committed community, deep experience as educators, and the sheer size and expansiveness of campus have helped us develop a pandemic response that is unparalleled by any school in the vicinity. This response continues to evolve as we learn more about the disease.

The 6 Goals of In-Person Learning at EMS

  1. Continuously meet or exceed CDC/state guidelines
  2. Provide a healthy and safe environment for our community  (students, parents, faculty, and staff)
  3. Offer in-person leaning  five-days per week
  4. Provide families with a full school day (including before and after-care) from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  5. Maintain our original academic calendar, including planned breaks
  6. Provide additional and continual professional development for faculty

A Mutual Understanding

As educators, we believe in the science that is constantly revealing new information about COVID-19, the risks associated with it, how to mitigate those risks, and the real nature of the data being presented by groups like the Centers for Disease Control. We have concluded that with deliberate design, we will be able to provide a healthy and safe environment for our community (students, parents, faculty, and staff) while planning for every contingency and family circumstance.

The keys to our success have been and will continue to be trust, agility, and preparedness – from staff and families.

The EMS Health and Safety Team, the COVID board task-force as well as the Medical and Dental Advisory Committee are constantly evaluating and updating policies as our understanding of the disease evolves. Please feel free to reach out to us should you have any questions: emshealthandsafetyteam@elisabethmorrow.org

Why On-Campus Learning is Important

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly advocated that all policy considerations for the 2020-2021 school year start with a goal of having students physically present in school. The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits. Beyond the educational impact and social impact of school closures, there has been substantial impact on food security and physical activity for children and families.

“COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry” - American Academy of Pediatrics

While our priority is students, EMS staff recognizes remote learning has a profound effect on parents as well. We are acutely aware of the inequitable burden childcare may place on many families in an already stressful time. Additionally, most parents have struggled with the burden to adapt to the time commitment and stress involved in becoming an educator to their child. On-campus learning is the option that we, at EMS, believe will result in the best outcomes for our families.

Who We're Listening to, Reading, and Taking into Advisement:

We've based the decision to emphasize on-campus learning on extensive research and consultation with academic, medical, and psychological experts.

The Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools (ATLIS)
New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS)
National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS)
National Business Officers Association (NBOA)
American Academy of Pediatrics
Centers for Disease Control
New Jersey Department of Health
New Jersey Department of Education
Arts Ed NJ
World Health Organization

This list is not exhaustive, as every member of staff additionally participated in discussions, webinars, readings, and conferences within their specialties about how to best serve students under the circumstances.

Who is Making Decisions for EMS?

For more information about COVID-19 related decision-making please see How We Make Decisions at EMS.

What if I have Questions?

EMS Health & Safety Team
     - General questions on COVID-19 policies and procedures
     - Questions about testing

School Nurses
Betsy Tyras (Chilton House and Little School) btyras@elisabethmorrow.org | 201-568-5566 x 7302
Desere Diaz (Morrow House) - ddiaz@elisabethmorrow.org | 201-568-5566 x 7109
     - Questions regarding individual students
     - Reporting an exposure or questions about a possible exposure

Division Heads
Lauren Mactas (Chilton House) lmactas@elisabethmorrow.org | 201-568-5566 x 7304
Beth Brennan (Little School) bbrennan@elisabethmorrow.org | 201-568-5566 x 7203
Phil Cox (Morrow House) pcox@elisabethmorrow.org | 201-568-5566 x 7102
     - Questions about remote learning
     - Questions about changing tracks
     - Questions regarding student disciplinary infractions resulting from failure to follow policies in school

Your Primary Care Physician
     - Questions regarding the health of other family members in your household

Local Health Department
     - Questions regarding health and safety protocols in your area
     - Detailed travel and quarantine policies