Good morning. This week we reported 35 cases to the County. The school-by-school breakdown is as follows: MHS=20 cases; Edgar=7 cases, Campbell=6 cases, and Moss=2 cases. Per this week’s state CALI report, New Jersey and the central-east region of the state are still YELLOW (moderate activity). The last four weeks have seen a surge in local cases. While masks are still not required in district, we welcome them, especially in indoor, crowded settings. By the way, influenza activity remains high in the state. This is relatively late in the spring to see such high activity. And this week we had (literal and figurative) ground-shaking events with the on-going Russian invasion of Ukraine and the leak of a forthcoming Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade. Coincidently this week we also received our vote-by-mail primary ballots. Voting is so critical. Please mark primary and election days on your calendars. And now for some good news from around the district: • MHS is proud to announce the honorees for this year’s MHS Star Awards, which recognizes students, faculty, staff, and community organizations that give back in a significant way to the school and community. Congratulations to our award recipients! See this year’s winners here: https://core-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/asset/uploaded_file/1203/MHS/2057819/Star_Awards_Announcement_-_May_2022.pdf. • The Edgar School 5th and 6th grade chorus performed to rave reviews at the Somerset Patriots game on Wednesday night. • With 100 volunteers already dedicated to Campbell School’s June 3rd Field Day 2022 don’t miss your chance to be part of the Volunteer Squad. The Campbell team has already met with local businesses, arranged music, obstacle courses, and more. If you’d like to be part of Field Day 2022, we’d love to have you. The sign-up, linked HERE, will be open through 5pm today. • We have a former employee and Metuchen parent doing a reading at Moss of her newly published book. Havoc in the Hamock - by Kelly Jaques. • And more good news: former student, Joel Nadler, had his book, Abandoned New Jersey, published. You can see him at the photo exhibit and book launch at Papillon & Company tonight from 5 to 7pm. Then he’ll be at the Metuchen Public Library on Tuesday, May 24 at 7pm. Finally, we keep adding new information to our referendum website. Take a look and let us know if you have any questions. You can find it here: https://sites.google.com/view/metuchenreferendum2022?utm_source=Google+Site&utm_medium=Google+Site&utm_campaign=Referendum+ Have a great weekend. Happy Mother’s Day. Dr. Vincent Caputo Superintendent of Schools
7 months ago, Vincent Caputo
April 29, 2022 Good afternoon. I hope this email finds you well. This week we saw an uptick in COVID in the district. While New Jersey and our central-east region of the state remain in YELLOW (moderate level of activity), we did report 25 cases to the County Health Department. The breakdown by school is as follows: MHS=5, Edgar=6, Campbell=14, and Moss=0. We continue to do everything we can to keep staff and students safe. Masks are still optional and staff and students are encouraged to wear them as they deem appropriate. Have a great weekend. Dr. Vincent Caputo, Superintendent of Schools
7 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Hello. I hope this message finds you healthy and happy. New Jersey and the central-east region of the state are in yellow COVID status (moderate activity) and this week we again had a significant number of COVID cases. We reported 24 positive cases to the County: MHS = 9 cases, Edgar = 4 cases, Campbell = 11 cases, and Moss = 0 cases. Student vaccination rates at the schools are as follows: MHS=75%, Edgar= 70%, Campbell=52%, and Moss=33%. We are watching the number of local cases and will also be guided by next week’s CALI report. As I communicated in early March when we shifted to mask-optional, while not likely, a possible return to masks is always under consideration. Following the break, look for an email from your school principal about the NJ School Climate Survey. All parents, students, and staff will be encouraged to participate. We will use the data to make our schools even better than they already are. Schools are closed tomorrow and next week. See you on Monday, April 25. Happy holidays and enjoy the spring recess. Dr. Vincent Caputo
8 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Good afternoon. This week we’ve seen lows and highs - humanity at its worst and at its best. The atrocities and apparent war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine are simply gut-wrenching. On the other hand, we also witnessed the historic appointment of Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson. Information comes at us so quickly. It’s hard to process it all. We are here to help you and your children the best we can. According to this week’s CALI report, New Jersey and the state’s central-east region both remain YELLOW. That indicates a moderate level of COVID activity. This week we reported nineteen (19) COVID cases to the County Health Department. The breakdown is as follows: MHS=4, Edgar=7, Campbell=8, and Moss=0. This is the highest number of weekly cases since late January, during the initial Omicron strain. We have been watching the BA2 variant cause sharp increases worldwide. Our vaccination status has remained stagnant, and if you are unvaccinated or not boosted, now might be a good time to consider speaking to your doctor. Shots reduce the severity of symptoms - at the very least. We also know masks significantly reduce airborne transmission, and we may want to consider masking in crowded indoor settings. We constantly review our mitigation strategies and our local data, and we will keep the public informed of any further changes to our protocols. The NJDOE has released the School Performance Reports. You can review a mound of data for every district and every school in the state. As a reminder, here is my letter to community: https://core-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/asset/uploaded_file/1987864/Performance_reports_2020-2021.pdf. And here is a direct link to the school performance reports website: https://rc.doe.state.nj.us/ The Metuchen Summer Institute brochure is available, and sign-ups have begun. See here for more information: https://core-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/asset/uploaded_file/1980863/Summer_Institute_Brochure_2022_.pdf This weekend the MHS Footlighters are presenting Working. Last night was opening night, but you can still catch the show tonight and Saturday night at 7pm at MHS. Tickets are $15. Baseball is back. Let’s Go Mets. Have a great weekend. Dr. Vincent Caputo, Superintendent of Schools
8 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Good morning. It’s really April – no fooling. The spring season is underway, and flowers and trees are blooming. According to this week’s CALI report, New Jersey and the state’s central-east region both remain YELLOW. That indicates a moderate level of COVID activity. This week we reported two (2) COVID cases to the County Health Department. The breakdown is as follows: MHS=0, Edgar=2, Campbell=0, and Moss=0. Our rockstar nurses met this week and are supportive of ending the daily screening questionnaire for staff and students beginning Monday, April 4. Students, staff, and parents have become aware of the expectations, and we are confident they will continue to adhere to these guidelines without the mandate to complete the daily questions. While we will no longer be requiring staff and parents to complete a daily screener, the expectations for exclusion and communication with the school nurses regarding COVID related symptoms and exposure remain unchanged. Because we are taking off another mitigation strategy, it is extremely important that we watch out for each other and the students as colleagues, educators, and parents. The most important action we can all take is to stay home/keep the child home when sick. Two local districts returned to masking this week with sharp increases in positive cases. We constantly review our mitigation strategies and our local data, and we will keep the public informed of any further changes to our protocols. We are very excited to share that 51 MHS students qualified for the State Seal of Biliteracy. These students have studied and attained proficiency in at least one language in addition to English. Languages in which our students are proficient include Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and Japanese. Graduating seniors who have earned this honor are recognized with an endorsement with their diplomas. According to the NJDOE website, “this designation on a student’s high school diploma also provides employers and universities with a method of identifying bilingual candidates, students with 21st century skills, and those who have prioritized the study of other languages and cultures. Moreover, the State Seal of Biliteracy emphasizes the importance of both bilingualism, which facilitates improved communication and boosts the local economy, and cultural understanding, which promotes social acceptance.” Congratulations to these students and our world language teachers! Today, the Campbell School Green Team and distinguished guests will celebrate the ribbon cutting of Campbell’s new bike rack! This exciting addition was made possible by funds provided by the NJEA Sustainable Jersey Grants Program. The Campbell Team is so proud to offer this option for a more environmentally friendly way to get to school and look forward to it being used by generations of Campbell students to come. On that note, get your bikes out for a ride - and have a nice weekend! Dr. Vincent Caputo, Superintendent of Schools
8 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Good afternoon. New Jersey and the state’s central-east region both remain YELLOW. That indicates a moderate level of COVID activity. This week we reported 4 COVID cases to the County Health Department. The breakdown is as follows: MHS=1, Edgar=3, Campbell=0, and Moss=0. Have a great afternoon and a relaxing weekend. Dr. Vincent Caputo
9 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Hello there. New Jersey and the state’s central-east region remain YELLOW. That indicates a moderate level of COVID activity. This week we reported eight COVID cases to the County Health Department. The breakdown is as follows: MHS=2, Edgar=3, Campbell=3, and Moss=0. That’s a steep increase. We are watching the new BA2 variant very carefully. We know masking and vaccinations slow the spread of COVID. Stay vigilant. For Edgar students, the Newspaper program will run on Tuesdays on Thursdays after school. Sign up for one of the sessions. The start date is either Tuesday March 29 or Thursday March 31. For teachers and parents, you are invited to register for our third Annual Metuchen Technology Symposium on March 26. It will be a virtual conference emphasizing the use of technology that takes into consideration the students’ and teachers' whole being and their Social-Emotional learning. We are glad to announce we have a great line of presenters. Some of them are part of our Metuchen Family. Registration is FREE. There is no obligation to stay all day (9am-1pm). To register, click here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/metuchen-technology-symposium-2022-tickets-245821638137 Have a great weekend! Dr. Vincent Caputo
9 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Earlier today, an Edgar School student made a statement to two (2) different students that caused the school and police to be become concerned. With everyone’s safety in mind and an abundance of caution, the police and school felt it was necessary to evacuate the school. Once police deemed the school safe, the students and faculty were able to return. This remains an open investigation at this time.
9 months ago, Vincent Caputo
District phones are operating and we are able to receive calls. Thanks for your patience. VCaputo
9 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Good morning. As of 8:20 this morning, we are not receiving calls from outside the district. We are working to resolve the issue. Please use email to contact the schools. VCaputo
9 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Good afternoon, everyone. I hope you and your family are doing well. The situation in Ukraine worsens by the day. The war this week took an ugly turn when Russia attacked a hospital. Please show kindness to our neighbors in the borough and to those displaced Ukrainians who will need refuge here in the US and locally. The schools stand ready to help them and to support any of our current students or staff dealing with stress or anxiety. The CALI report for this week shows both the central-east region of the state, and New Jersey overall, still in YELLOW (moderate COVID activity). This week, we reported ZERO cases to the County Health Department. This is the first week with no cases since the week ending 11/11/21. See the Road Forward update on the website for details of the COVID protocols we have in place. You can also see weekly and historical data there. Be safe with the winter weather tomorrow. Don’t forget to change your clocks and check your smoke detectors. Baseball is back. We have college basketball games and brackets coming. Have a nice weekend! Dr. Vincent Caputo, Superintendent of Schools
9 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Good afternoon. I hope this email finds you and your family healthy. My thoughts have been consumed with the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. The situation is tragic, and the immediate outlook is grim, with many lives lost. The Ukrainian people are showing unbelievable courage in the face of an assault on their infrastructure and their democracy. My prayers are with Ukrainians here and abroad. After reviewing the CDC and NJDOH guidance issued last week and in consultation with our school physician, the Metuchen Public School District will implement a mask optional school environment beginning March 7, 2022. All key metrics used throughout the pandemic, including current local conditions, were considered in the decision-making process. Cases in the district have dropped significantly during the past 2 months. This week we reported four positive cases to the County. The breakdown (students + staff) is as follows: MHS = 2, Edgar = 1, Campbell = 0, and Moss = 1. The four cases are the fewest for a week since November 18. This mirrors cases across the Borough: in the last seven days, there were eleven cases, also the fewest since mid-November. The NJDOH CALI score lists Central East region is in the “moderate” (yellow) risk range: https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/statistics/covid/#1. The new CDC COVID-19 Community Level report shows Middlesex County in the “low” (green) range: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html. Hospitalizations around the state have continued to decline to mid-November levels, prior to the spread of Omicron. Please note that there are several times when masks must be worn: anytime in the nurse’s office, when returning early from isolation following a positive diagnosis (or presumed positive) or from quarantine following a close contact exclusion with nurse clearance on days 6-10 (unless you return on day 8 with a negative test result from day 5-7). The district reserves the right to reinstate masking at any time. Situations that might warrant reinstating the mask mandate include, but are not limited to, the weekly CALI report showing high COVID activity (orange status), high level of COVID activity within the Borough, or outbreaks in specific classes or school buildings. We may also require masks for a specific school or district event. The updated Road Forward plan is linked here: https://www.metuchenschools.org/article/675549 and will be discussed at Tuesday’s board meeting. Given the age of our students, we are mindful that the decision of whether to wear a mask will be at the discretion of parents and caregivers. Kindness is expected, and bullying related to masking will not be tolerated. Respectfully, I also request that you refrain from asking school staff whether your child is (or other children are) wearing a mask throughout the school day as their primary focus is on the delivery of instruction and services. Our staff members will not be able to monitor and report out masking information to parents. A few other reminders: we will continue to contact trace to the best of our abilities; staying masked reduces COVID transmission and reduces the likelihood of non-vaccinated individuals being excluded if exposed to a positive person; and we need to continue our partnership around all mitigating factors (vaccinations/boosters, staying home when sick, social distancing, and cleaning/ventilation) Be prepared for the temperature roller coaster again this weekend. And enjoy some college basketball (Go Rutgers!). Dr. Vincent Caputo, Superintendent of Schools
9 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Good afternoon: It feels like we are faced with unprecedented and historical events at a dizzying pace. I think about our kids often. I’m going to spend a few minutes this weekend learning more about Ukraine’s long history, it’s (relatively) short time as part of the old Soviet Union, and the grave peril that it faces today. A sovereign nation is under attack and there will be terrible loss of life. Any time democracy comes under attack at home or abroad, we need to educate ourselves and fight back. I appreciate our history/social studies teachers, many of whom had to alter their plans this week to address the most significant military conflict in Europe since World War II. I’ve said that 2020 will have its own chapter in future history books. It looks like this trend continues into 2022. This week we reported 5 cases to the County. The breakdown was as follows: MHS=0, Edgar=1, Campbell=3, Moss=0, and 1 other employee case. You can visit the website to see the weekly data chart and the historical COVID data. The most current CALI report shows that New Jersey is yellow (moderate activity) and our central-east region is also yellow. We got some updated recommendations from NJDOH this week which correspond to the Governor’s announcement that, beginning March 7, masking will be up to individual districts. We are just reviewing these recommendations and we will continue to follow trends locally and more broadly. Next Friday, I will announce a decision about masking here in the Metuchen Public Schools. This week, our board of education approved the school district calendar for next year, the 2022-2023 school year: https://core-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/asset/uploaded_file/1882759/2022-23_School_Calendar_Approved_2-22-22.pdf. Conferences will be added at a future date. And finally, here is a reminder about the last days of the current school year. This is not a change – just a reminder. The last three days of school will be half days for students and full days for staff. Without snow days, the last three half days would be 6/16, 6/20, and 6/21 (6/17 is Juneteenth observed). Snow days would extend the year. For example, one snow day would mean the half days are 6/20-6/22; two snow days means half days on 6/21-6/23. Regardless of snow days or not, MHS graduation is 6/24. Here is the approved calendar for this year: https://core-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/asset/uploaded_file/1499151/Copy_of_2021-22_School_Calendar_updated_12.22.2021.pdf. Back to winter this weekend after a one-day spring teaser on Wednesday. Stay safe. Be well. Dr. Vincent Caputo, Superintendent of Schools
10 months ago, Vincent Caputo
The metuchen public schools will operate on a delayed opening schedule for Friday, February 25.
10 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Hello and happy Friday. I hope this message finds you well. Part one below is the COVID update. Part two is some good news. Part three provides some additional information on problem-solving for those interested. Part 1: COVID update - This week we reported 5 cases to the County: MHS = 1, Edgar = 3, Campbell = 0, Moss = 0, and other staff = 1. Statewide, the downward trend in cases continues. The CALI report shows the whole state and each of the six NJ regions in YELLOW (moderate COVID activity). Vist our website for the full weekly report and the historical data. Let’s all do our part to continue to drive down the number of cases. Thanks. Part 2: Good news in the schools - The MHS Asian Heritage Club continues to do great outreach work within the Metuchen community. Last Saturday, the Lion Dance Troupe performed at the Metuchen Lunar New Year Celebration at the Metuchen Town Plaza. Congratulations to all Asian Heritage Club members – we are proud of the work you do! At Edgar, our spring musical, School House Rock, will take place on February 25, 26, and 27. Tickets will be on sale for $5. They may be purchased in the office beginning Tuesday. Save the Date: The Third Annual Living Wax Museum hosted by the Campbell 3rd Grade Team will be on Friday, May 6. The rain date is Friday, May 13. More information about visiting and other grade-level events to come! Moss students celebrated the 100th day of school and were engaged in fun learning activities including making necklaces with 100 beads, completing 100 piece puzzles, doing 100 exercises, and 100 or more other ways to learn and have fun at the same time. Part 3: Problem-solving, Social-Emotional Learning, and Responsible Decision Making - For at least the last ten years, Metuchen School District has been working tirelessly to teach all students the social and emotional competencies that lead to increased student success at school and in life. One SEL competency that the district has embedded extensively into its core curricula and instruction is Responsible Decision Making. Research shows that teaching Responsible Decision Making is accomplished by providing all students with one overall strategy for decision making and problem solving across academic content as well as social and emotional contexts. We also know that the best way to teach SEL competencies like Responsible Decision Making is for adults to model what successful decision making and problem solving looks and sounds like. We do this as much as we can as a district in as many ways that we can. In response to last week’s message, I had some parents reach out to me about problem-solving strategies. The problem-solving steps we use include the following: select a focus, gather information, brainstorm possible solutions, act, and reflect. To learn more about how the district utilizes this problem solving / decision making strategy to develop all students’ emotional problem solving and coping skills, and to learn how we as adults can model this process for our children and work together towards this ever-important common goal, please register for our first Parent Academy series on how to develop independent coping skills here or use the web address: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe22j_rnFnlVF9OpjCZHp4rjeVpONBHaMPqeXe8N1M-M9OxnA/viewform. Thanks for your continued interest in and support for the Metuchen Public Schools. Have a great three-day weekend. Dr. Vincent Caputo
10 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Good afternoon. A couple of days of spring weather – I love it! This week we reported ten COVID cases to the county health department: MHS=2, Edgar=5, Campbell=2, and Moss=0, plus 1 other employee. Click here to see our historical COVID data: https://www.metuchenschools.org/browse/287960, or here to see the weekly summary data: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1q1vFsZE72DyWToLxddLzQX0Rt9q-Ic7DI68U8ND4Sd4/edit. If you can’t access the information via the links, please visit the district website www.metuchenschools.org, and click on the COVID button for the data and all related information. We also all heard that Governor Murphy intends to drop the mask mandate for schools beginning March 7. It’s a great time to model the problem-solving steps that we teach our children. We know what the issue is: how should Metuchen best proceed since the Governor has said it will be up to individual districts to require masking or to switch to mask-optional. The next step (before diving into possible solutions,) is to gather information. So what else do we know? • COVID-19 is a respiratory virus primarily transmitted via breathing in virus particles expelled by an infected person • We initially closed down in March 2020, but we know COVID-19 was around during the last few months of 2019 (hence the name, COVID-19) • We are approaching one million American deaths attributed to COVID and tens of millions who have contracted COVID, ranging from asymptomatic to hospitalized patients • Vaccines have been highly successful in preventing deaths and serious illness • Masks have been highly successful in stopping transmission. If I wear even a lower-quality mask, I may be protected at least 30-50%. If we both wear high quality N95 masks, we are each 97 to 98% protected. • Our vaccination rates (to the best of our knowledge) are as follows: staff=95%, MHS students=73%, Edgar students=67%, Campbell students=49%, and Moss students=27%. • Regardless of decisions for inside school buildings, masks will still be required on all busses (including for sports) as this falls under federal law. • As of now, the World Health Organization still recommends indoor masking • As of now, the CDC still recommends indoor masking • Our Road Forward plan includes many required actions around close contacts and quarantines, and we are not yet aware of how the state plans to adjust those if masking becomes optional in districts • And we know that within a span of just four weeks, the NJ CALI status has gone from red to orange to yellow (for the first time since the week of November 20th) We also know that mask-optional is not a choice that can be made until March 7. While other districts, within hours of the announcement, made decisions to either continue to require masks or to go mask-optional, I don’t need to decide now. I can wait until March 7, but my plan is to inform the community on March 4 whether or not we will still require masks the following Monday. This decision will be informed after consulting with our school physician and our excellent school nurses. I will consider the CALI status, cases in the borough, and cases in the district. If we were to drop the mandate, I would continue to model best practice and wear my mask indoors. We’re all in this together. Those of us who have reasons for extra concern from COVID, want everyone masked and vaccinated. For those of us who want mask-optional, go get vaccinated and keep wearing your masks for the next month. See – it’s mutually beneficial. As Board President Brian Glassberg said at Tuesday’ meeting, we will handle this latest decision point with “optimism, compassion, and patience.” Have a great weekend. Enjoy leisure activities with family and friends. And good luck to our high school athletes in post-season competitions. Sunday is my wife’s birthday. (I also hear that there is a football game that day!) Dr. Vincent Caputo
10 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Phone service has been restored to the District.
10 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Good afternoon. I hope this message finds you well. This week, we reported 13 COVID cases, the lowest since the week ending 12/16. The breakdown by school (staff and students) is as follows: no cases at MHS, 6 cases at Edgar, 7 cases at Campbell, and no cases at Moss. The number of students excluded due to COVID is only 15 today, the lowest figure since 11/18. Positive cases are way down from just a few weeks ago. That’s great news. We are, however, keeping our guard up. Omicron variant BA2 is potentially more transmissible. Masking is still required and enforced. Vaccination is highly recommended. Currently, here is a breakdown of vaccination status in the schools: Staff = 95%, MHS students = 73%, Edgar students = 66%, Campbell students = 48%, Moss students = 27%. Help us to keep these numbers up to date. Thanks. In other news, Campbell School has been designated as a state School of Character!!!! Edgar School held a highly successful concert this week. Be on the lookout for information on ticket sales for their upcoming spring play. Metuchen High School’s Consumer Bowl Team was crowned champions in last week’s county-wide competition. MHS and Edgar winter sports are full-speed ahead and the teams and athletes are doing well. And Moss School Kindergarteners are making Valentine’s Day cards and posters for the Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home. This is just a taste of some of the great curricular and extracurricular things happening in the district. Thanks always for your support! Have a nice weekend. Dr. Vincent Caputo
10 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Our phone system is still down tonight. We are working with our phone service provider. They believe it is a broken Verizon line outside of the district and that the issue will be resolved sometime tomorrow. We don’t expect to have phones in or out for arrival time Friday. Contact us via email. Dr. Caputo
10 months ago, Vincent Caputo
Good afternoon. As of 2:15pm this afternoon, the district phone system is down. We hope to have the situation resolved shortly. In the meantime, please contact us via email. Thanks. Dr. Vincent Caputo
10 months ago, Vincent Caputo