BOE clarifies COVID-19 process for 2021-22 domestic and international school trips


Megan Austin

Students from Pascack Valley and Pascack Hills are commended for awards at Monday night’s BOE meeting. Members also discussed the policy for students and chaperones attending overnight trips.

Olivia Moreno and Megan Austin

The Board of Education members discussed the plans for the 2021-2022 domestic and international school trips at the meeting Monday, Nov. 15 in the Pascack Hills auditorium. 

Dr. Daniel Fishbein, interim superintendent, said those attending the domestic school trips need to receive a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure. Because it is such late notice, a refund may not be available. If a student tests positive on the trip, a parent needs to come and get them within 36 hours.

“The parent and student may be required to quarantine if a flight is required,” Fishbein said. “We will have an extra chaperone on the trip. They will be there in case there are [COVID-19]  incidents. There will be an isolation outfit for that person to wear.” 

The international trips to Europe have different insurance policies according to Fishbein. Many students paid for the “richest insurance policy” and they can get a full reimbursement up to four days prior to departure. The cost of insurance will not be returned. 

“The trip to Italy, [which works with a local high school in Italy], doesn’t have that rich of insurance plan,” Fishbein said. “The top insurance that they have is receiving 75% of the cost of the trip. It’s a 50/50 split between the people that took the richest insurance plan and people that didn’t.”

The BOE members expressed willingness to rescind approval for trips close to the departure date if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in the destination or New Jersey.

“A week before [a trip] is supposed to go and if we’re at high risk again, we have the ability to stop it,” Board of Education Vice President Joseph Blundo said. “Unfortunately, those that didn’t take the insurance might be out of luck, but I want to make sure everybody knows we don’t know what tomorrow’s gonna bring. We reserve the right to pull it if something really bad is happening.”

Board of Education President Tammy Molinelli announced that the BOE decided which search agency they will be working with to find a new superintendent. They will be using Strategic Education Advantage LLC. 

“We had a very detailed analysis of four agencies,” Molinelli said. “We considered a tremendous amount of items as we reviewed them. We talked about the relationship that we believe the agency would have with this entire board of education because we take this extremely seriously and are very committed to selecting the correct superintendent moving forward.”

Many students were commended for various achievements. This includes acceptance into the All-state Treble Chorus, winners of National Merit Scholarship, semifinalists of the National Merit Scholarship, Advanced Placement Scholars, Advanced Placement Scholars with Honors, Advanced Placement Scholars with Distinction, and the Italian Studies Award presented by the Coccia Foundation. 

“On behalf of the Board of Education, we would like to congratulate all these outstanding students,” Molinelli said. “We would like to thank their parents. We’re very proud of the accomplishments of your outstanding students.”

The Board congratulated Pat Luisi from Hillsdale who was voted onto the BOE as Hillsdale Representative. Joseph Blundo from Rivervale and Debra Stephans from Montvale were reelected to the BOE for another term as well. Pat Luisi will join the board in January when the new term begins.