Welcome Back Message from Dr. Chrys Harttraft
September 30, 2021
Dear SCVTS Educational Community,
Welcome back to the 2021-2022 school year at Somerset County Vocational & Technical Schools. As we
finish up our second full week of school, I would like to mention how proud we are of our staff, students
and families who have shown great cooperation and resilience after a long period of uncertainty. Our main
priority is to remain open all day every day, and can only do this with the help of our entire educational
We will continue to request that parents fill out the health verification form recently changed to a weekly
basis, keep students home if ill or exhibiting COVID symptoms, and be continuously vigilant in this
process. This will help us to remain open as we did last year. We also ask that parents reach out and inform
our nurses of any exposure to positive COVID cases and cooperate with them should quarantining be
Our attendance numbers, so far, indicate that students are happy to be back in person. Although we are not
offering remote synchronous instruction, we are making every effort to provide valuable instruction to
students who cannot attend in person due to illness or COVID quarantining. We are also adjusting to issues
of scheduling due to bussing voids at some sending districts.
Entering the fall flu and allergy season will require even more persistence with our cleaning, hand washing
and mask wearing protocols. Please reinforce proper mask wearing practices, our experience has directly
demonstrated its importance in remaining open https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html .
SCVTS administrative and medical teams continue to keep pace with the Center for Disease Control and
Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, State and Local Health and Education Departments, when it
comes to COVID transmission rates and relative changes.
We understand how much this continued uncertainty can adversely affect students and therefore our
teachers and student support staff have been instrumental in identifying and addressing social and emotional
stressors. Our newly revamped Social Emotional Education (SEL) curriculum will add significant self-
awareness, self-management and decision making facets throughout the high school curriculum. We have
also provided a number of resources on our website, but nothing takes the place of direct conversations with
students during difficult times.
Please reach out to our school counseling staff if you recognize unexpected changes in your child’s
personality or behaviors and would like a follow-up with a counselor and/or our Linkages Mental Health
and Wellness professionals.
In closing, I would like to thank you for your continued patience and support as we resume our academic
and career education programs throughout this challenging time.
Stay safe and well,
2021-2022 School Year and COVID-19 Message from Dr. Chrys Harttraft
SCVTS Educational Community Members,
I hope you are enjoying the summer break and finding time to refresh, rejuvenate, and in some ways recover from the continuation of COVID related stressors.
Although COVID is not completely behind us, we are committed to in-person instruction as recommended by the CDC, our state and local Health Departments, and the American Association of Pediatricians.
We at SCVTS, are excited to start the new 2021-22 school year and are optimistic that our long awaited opening to all students will involve full day, in-person instruction with little interruption.
We understand that students and parents may be a little nervous about such a return, particularly those who have been engaged in virtual instruction for the majority of last year. We have taken this anxiety into account and we will be allowing time for students to transition back into their educational routine. Our priority remains on keeping our school environment physically and emotionally safe for all students and staff. To this end, we are continuing to monitor the cases and adjust our plans given our county’s Critical Activity Level Index (CALI score).
In June, SCVTS submitted the required Safe Return to School Plan to the NJ Department of Education (also on our website). That plan was subject to change as restrictions were loosened. The current reality dictates that the safety measures that we ended with in the 2020-21 school year, must remain in place. Below is a brief outline of the required safety measures the district is adopting which are consistent with our Safe Return Plan and the most recent guidance from CDC and our local departments of health.
- All instruction will be in-person, unless special medical circumstances exist.
- All students, staff and visitors will be fully masked while indoors and on busses, regardless of vaccination status. Any exemptions will be determined through our medical staff.
- Hand washing, proper personal hygiene and use of sanitizer will be encouraged, various cleaning protocols will continue in all buildings.
- Although vaccinations are not mandatory, the district encourages those eligible for vaccines to protect themselves and loved ones by getting one. This will be particularly important for students participating in athletics or other extra-curricular activities where social distancing may be compromised.
- While in the classrooms, students will maintain at a three-foot distance and a six-foot distance at lunch or when unmasked when practicable.
- Contact tracing will continue into the new school year and quarantining will be required due to the highly contagious Delta variant. We ask for your cooperation if called by a medical professional.
- Contact tracing protocols will be based upon CDC recommendations and NJ Department of Health guidance.
- Daily verification of symptom screenings for students will be the responsibility of parents. Administrators and medical staff will continue to verify that this is being done.
- The symptom screenings of students and staff will be checked daily until further notice.
- Students experiencing symptoms or are sick are urged to stay home and get tested before returning to school.
- Any travel restrictions will be adopted from CDC recommendations and State of NJ guidance.
- We will be implementing an all-encompassing approach for mental health support. Students are encouraged to reach out to counselors and mental health staff for help when needed.
- Our school district will be in close communication and coordination with state, local public health authorities, school nurses, local pediatric practitioners, and other medical experts throughout the year.
- All strategies will be revised and adapted depending on the level of viral transmission and test positivity rate throughout the community and schools.
- School policies will be adjusted to align with new information about the pandemic; administrators will refine approaches when specific policies are not working.
Enjoy the rest of the summer break and we look forward to seeing you in September.
Chrys Harttraft, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
https://corporate.comcast.com/press/releases/internet-essentials-low-income-broadband-coronavirus-pandemicComcast/Xfinity will be offering free internet service on their nationwide wifi platform for the next 60 days. To connect to this service, students will only require an internet capable device (laptop, desktop, chromebook, tablet.) If students have an issue connecting to this network, they should reach out to Comcast for support. More information about this offer: https://wifi.xfinity.
com/Below, please find some information regarding this service:Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser.NJ coverage Map: