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Masks to remain optional as Hopewell Valley Regional School District set to begin 2022-23 school year

Masks remain optional districtwide and late buses will not be provided at Timberlane Middle School and Hopewell Valley Central High School for the 2022-23 school year, according to Superintendent of Schools Rosetta Treece.

Treece briefed the Hopewell Valley Regional Board of Education and public on the district’s return to school at a board meeting on Aug. 22.

The start of the school year for students and staff of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District begins on Sept. 6.

COVID-19   

When the start of the 2022-23 school year begins in September, masks will continue to be optional for all staff, students and visitors.

“We are asking that everyone respect the individual’s right to wear a mask or not,” Treece said. “Be aware that the mask policy can change if the New Jersey Department of Health or Department of Education puts those policies back in place.”

Treece said parents should keep their children home if their child is mirroring symptoms of COVID-19, the flu or any other respiratory diseases.

“If you test your child and find out your child tests positive for COVID-19, they need to isolate for five days and then wear a mask [for five days] when they return. We are no longer quarantining at this time,” Treece said.

The school district’s return to school policy also remains in place for student athletes who test positive for COVID-19. Parents of those students are asked to reach out to their child’s school nurse or Director of Athletics Tripp Becker.

“And finally, we are just encouraging you again, if you are eligible for the vaccine, that you consider getting that,” Treece said.

Late busing for Timberlane Middle School (TMS) and Hopewell Valley Central High School (HVCHS)

Regular morning and afternoon busing routes are in place to bring students to school and home for the upcoming school year.

“What we don’t have for this year again at least for right now is the late buses at the middle and high school for the enrichment and sports,” Treece said. “We are trying to do that, but we do not have enough bus drivers. It is not off the table forever. We are still not in place where we cannot supply late buses.”

District business administrator Robert Colavita said the district has not been offering late busing since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Courses

The district is having trouble with staffing some elective classes with teachers for the upcoming school year due to a national shortage of qualified teachers.

Those class offerings include world languages and other electives, according to the district administration.

“We are not able to offer all of the course offerings right now. We are hopeful they will come back in the future,” Treece said.

The courses will remain in the program of studies but will not run if there is low enrollment and/or a qualified teacher is unable to hire to staff the classes.

The district will also no longer offer free lunch for all students. However, free and reduced lunch is still available for families who need it, according to the district.

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