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LEA Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Service
Pursuant to the Federal American Rescue Plan Act, Section 2001(i)

Introduction and Background

As announced in the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE)’s April 28, 2021 broadcast, in March 2021 President Biden signed the Federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, Public Law 117-2, into law. The ARP Act provides an additional $122 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) to States and school districts to help safely reopen, sustain the safe operation of schools, and address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s students. As with the previous ESSER funds available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), the purpose of the additional funding is to support local educational agencies (LEAs) in preparing for and responding to the impacts of COVID-19 on educators, students, and families. Additional information on ARP ESSER may be found in the NJDOE’s funding comparison fact sheet

Section 2001(i)(1) of the ARP Act requires each LEA that receives ARP ESSER funds to develop and make publicly available on the LEA’s website, no later than 30 days after receiving ARP ESSER funds, a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services for all schools (Safe Return Plan) A Safe Return Plan is required of all fund recipients, including those that have already returned to in-person instruction. Section 2001(i)(2) of the ARP Act further requires that the LEA seek public comment on the Safe Return Plan and take those comments into account in finalization of the Safe Return Plan. Under the interim final requirements published in Volume 86, No. 76 of the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE), an LEA must periodically, but no less frequently than every six months through September 30, 2023, review and, as appropriate, revise its Safe Return Plan. 

Pursuant to those requirements, LEAs must submit to the NJDOE and post on their website their Safe Return Plans by June 24, 2021. The NJDOE intends to make LEA ARP ESSER Fund applications available in EWEG on May 24, 2021 and LEAs will submit their Safe Return Plans to the NJDOE via EWEG. To assist LEAs with the development of their Safe Return Plans, the NJDOE is providing the following template.

This template incorporates the federally-required components of the Safe Return Plan. The questions in the template below will be included in the LEA ARP ESSER Fund application in EWEG. LEAs will submit responses to the questions within the LEA ARP ESSER Fund application in EWEG by June 24, 2021.  The NJDOE hopes that this template will allow LEAs to effectively plan for that submission and to easily post the information to their websites as required by the ARP Act. 

Note that on May 17, 2021, Governor Murphy announced that upon the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year, portions of Executive Order 175 allowing remote learning will be rescinded, meaning that schools will be required to provide full-day, in-person instruction, as they were prior to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The NJDOE and New Jersey Department of Health will share additional information regarding State requirements or guidance for health and safety protocols for the 2021-2022 school year as it becomes available. 

Template: LEA Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services


Date: JUNE 17, 2021 Date Revised December 22, 2021; December 19, 2022, June 22, 2023, November 20, 2023

1. Maintaining Health and Safety

For each mitigation strategy listed below (A–H), please describe how the LEA will maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff and the extent to which it has adopted policies, and a description of any such policies, on each of the following safety recommendations established by the CDC. 

A. Universal and correct wearing of masks

Millburn has lifted the mask mandate as of March 7, 2022 while masking is still optional for students and staff; we are requiring them upon return from a Covid-19 infection for 5 days as recommended.

B. Physical distancing (e.g., including use of cohorts/podding)

For the 2023-24 school year, Millburn Twp Schools is following the CDC, NJDOE, New Jersey Executive Orders and NJ DOH guidance for physical distancing to the greatest extent possible.

C. Handwashing and respiratory etiquette

Millburn continues to minimize use of shared objects, ensure indoor facilities have adequate ventilation, prepare and maintain hand sanitizing stations, and ensure students wash hands frequently.We will ensure adequate supplies (e.g. soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, tissue) to support healthy hygiene practices.

D. Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation

The custodial and transportation staff will disinfect frequently touched surfaces within the school and on school buses at least daily or between use as much as possible. If transport vehicles are used by the school, drivers will practice safety protocols as indicated for other staff (e.g., hand hygiene, cloth face coverings). 

We will ensure ventilation systems will operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible such as opening windows, but they should not be opened if doing so poses a safety or health risk.

E. Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments

Millburn nurses are trained contact tracers. Our process has been developed in consultation with the local health department and with school nurses to identify the criteria an individual must meet in order to activate the board's contact tracing policy.

F. Diagnostic and screening testing

Millburn Twp Schools will safely and respectfully screen students and employees for symptoms and history exposure to Covid-19. students and staff with symptoms related to Covid-19 must be safely and respectfully isolated from others. 

Any necessary health checks will be conducted safely and respectfully, and in accordance with the applicable privacy laws and regulations. Positive results will be logged and reported according to State requirements.

G. Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible

Our school community is more than 90% vaccinated.  We will continue to encourage the completion of booster shots as they become available.

H. Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies

Millburn Twp Public School provides a continuum of special education and related services to eligible students, including out-of-district programs, in-district self-contained classes, resource in-class and pull-out replacement programs, general education programs with appropriate accommodations, related services, and home instruction.  All Programs and services are based upon individual student needs as determined by each student's individualized education plan (IEP).

All Millburn Twp Public Schools have an Intervention & Referral Service Team (I&RS) for the planning and delivery of services that are designed to assist students who are experiencing learning, behavior, or health difficulties and to assist staff who have difficulties in addressing students learning, behavior or health needs.  All of these services are continuing as previously stated.

All of these services are continuing as previously stated. 

2. Ensuring Continuity of Services

A. Describe how the LEA will ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to services to address students’ academic needs and students’ and staff’s social, emotional, mental health, and other needs, which may include student health and food services. (1000 character limit)

For the 2023-2024 school year, our district is continuing to address students' academic needs by assessing learning needs and students performing below grade level in ELA and Math through benchmarking such as NJSLA and Linkit.

Teams will continue to make data-informed decisions to support and accelerate student learning, when an opportunity gap is determined. We will continue programs for targeted populations funded through Title I, Title III, Title IV, and ARP funds. 

The district also has established procedures for identifying students in need of individualized mental health interventions. The district has been providing additional professional development opportunities to  provide SEL strategies for staff and students. The district has implemented use of Thrive Counselors to support student emotional needs.

3. Public Comment 

A. Describe how the LEA sought public comment on its plan, and how it took those public comments into account in the development of its plan.  Note, the ARP requires that LEAs seek public comment for each 60-day revision to the plan. (1000 character limit)

The original plan was presented at the June 21, 2021 Board of Education meeting and shared with the community on June 22, 2021. Public comment regarding the plan was taken under advisement and reviewed with our district health officials.

Revised plans were presented at the February 7, 2022, December 19, 2022, June 22, 2023 and November 20, 2023 Board of Education public meetings and shared with the community. Public comment regarding the plan was taken under advisement and reviewed with our district health officials.

B. Describe how the LEA ensured that the plan is in an understandable and uniform format; is to the extent practicable written in a language that parents can understand or, if not practicable to provide written translations to a parent with limited English proficiency, will be orally translated for such a parent; and upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability as defined by the ADA, will be provided in an alternative format accessible to that parent. (1000 character limit)

The plan is shared as a document (in translatable form) with families and posted on the district website with access to multiple translations.  

C. Briefly describe any guidance professional learning and technical assistance opportunities the LEA will make available to its schools. ( 1000 maximum characters used)

The district has Technology Facilitators at each of the schools to provide assistance to staff and students to enhance learning through the use of the varied technology tools. There is professional development available through pre-recorded videos, one-on-one meetings and ongoing need-based training. Information and guidance has been shared with students, staff and families regarding the logistics of how students will gain access to the classroom when there is a need to isolate or quarantine. The district’s technology work order system is always available to access assistance for technical, network and hardware needs.