Frequently Asked Questions
What should I send my child with on the first day of school?
-Send your child with a name tag that includes the teacher’s name, a nut/seed free snack and either a bag lunch or money to buy lunch.
What are the school’s hours?
-On a regular school day, the hours are 8:42 am – 3:12 pm. Singles session days run from 8:42 am – 1:20 pm. In the event of inclement weather, the delayed opening schedule is from 10:42 am – 3:12 pm. School closings are on the school year calendar and also posted on our website.
What time can I drop off my child at school?
-You can begin to drop off at 8:20 am at the front of the school or you can send your child to school by bus. Your bus pick up/drop off time can be found on the Realtime Parent Portal the last week of August. When dropping your child off at school in the morning, cars should pull forward and children should exit the cars by themselves on the sidewalk side of the car. A staff member will be at the main entrance to welcome your child.
What are my options for pick up?
-Unless notified otherwise by a written note, phone call or email, it is assumed that your child will be dismissed as per your instructions on the Transportations/Dismissal form you filled out in August. If you choose to pick up your child in the afternoon, you can line up your car on Fardale Avenue, with your child’s name on a sign in the passenger window and your child will be brought to your car. You may also park in the lot on Bartholf Lane walk up to the back door for hand-to-hand pick up. All students are also offered bus transportation to and from school.
Can my child ride home on a different bus for play dates with other children?
-No. Students are not allowed to take a bus other than the bus assigned to him/her. If you arrange a play date students must be picked up by a parent/guardian. (Don’t forget to send a note in to school to let the teacher know that your child will be picked up by someone else.)
To whom do we direct our bus/transportation questions or concerns?
-The transportations director for Mahwah Public Schools is Joan Schettino. Her telephone number is 201-762-2407. Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens if no one is at the bus stop to receive my child?
-If a parent/guardian is not at the assigned bus stop to pick up their child, the child may remain on the bus for the remainder of the route and return to the school. Please tell your child to stay on the bus if they do not see whoever is supposed to pick them up. If your child is brought back to school, the office will call home and someone must pick up the child at the school.
Can we access the school building after hours?
-The principal and/or office staff may be at school for a short time after dismissal. You can be buzzed in at the front door for entry. If your child is at the school for an after school activity such as Daisy Scouts, you must make arrangement for pick up with the troop leaders. Custodians should not give you entry to the school. There is a YMCA aftercare program at the school and for safety reason the doors are locked.
How can I contact the school or my child’s teacher?
- The best way to get a timely response is through email. Every staff member has their own address. The school’s website is www.mahwah.k12.nj.us. Click on the Staff Directory and follow the link to the teacher’s email address. The school secretary is Teal Vaccaro. If you have an immediate question or concern you may contact her at 201-762-2241.
How will we receive communications from the school?
-All pertinent school information will be posted to the George Washington website. Please check the website regularly. You may also register on the website to receive alerts when information is posted. Occasionally we may use the One Call automated phone system for important communication such as weather related school closings and delays or early dismissals. For more routine communications, email bulletins (“eblasts”) are sent to you every Wednesday. These communications may include such items as HSO and committee reminders, deadlines to sign up for activities, etc. Paper communications may also be sent home, so please check your child’s backpack on a daily basis.
What is the procedure if I need to pick up my child early?
-Please call or email the school to let us know your intention of picking up your child early. Upon arrival at school, ring the bell for entry then proceed directly to the main office. The secretary will ask the classroom teacher to dismiss your child to the office, and ask you to sign your child out for the day.
What is the procedure if I need to visit the school during the school day?
- In order to ensure the safety of our students, our exterior doors are locked during the official school day. All visitors (including parent volunteers) to school must ring the bell at the front door to be buzzed in. All visitors must report directly to the greeter's desk, inform a staff member of the purpose of their visit, scan their ID, and get a visitor’s badge to wear while inside the building.
Please know that we welcome parents/guardians in our school. Your child’s safety is our primary concern, so strict visitation guidelines have been put in place. Please make sure to follow procedure every time you enter the building.
What are the “specials” and how often do they meet?
-Each week your child will attend library, art, PE and music. All specials meet once a week for 40 minutes, except PE which meets twice a week. You will receive your child’s schedule from the teacher during the first week of school. Your child must wear sneakers and comfortable clothes on PE days. You will need to send in a smock for art class.
Are student’s given snack time during the day?
-Yes. Students may pack a nut/seed free snack to enjoy in the classroom, usually mid-morning. The snack must be a pre-packaged item or whole fruit, and must be packed separately from their lunch.
Can my child celebrate his/her birthday in school?
-Yes. Birthday celebrations are allowed at school. Parents may send in a birthday treat for the class providing they adhere to the following guidelines:
Sugar may not be the first ingredient
The snack needs to be pre-packaged, with a visible ingredient list that specifies the product does not contain nuts or seeds and is not processed in a facility that uses nuts or seeds.
What is a “Single Session” day?
-Single session days are shortened school days. At GW, the school hours on a single session day are 8:42-1:20.
How will I know if school is cancelled or delayed due to weather or any other reason?
- When weather conditions prevent us from opening schools at the regular time, the following procedure(s) will be put into effect:
Residents may check the district website at www.mahwah.k12.nj.us.
The One Call system will be instituted throughout all of the Mahwah School District. Please update your contact information using the Realtime parent portal to ensure that you receive messages through use of the One Call system.
Please do not call the local police with questions.
When schools are closed, all after school and evening activities will be canceled.
Is there bus transportation and cafeteria service when there is a delayed opening?
On a two hour delayed opening day, bused students should report to their assigned stop two hours later than usual.
On a two hour delayed opening day, our schools will serve a cafeteria luncheon. However, the menu may change.
What if my child is sick and can’t attend school?
-Each day that your child is absent, you must call the school nurse, Nancy Mertz to inform her that your child won’t be in school (201-762-2243). If you have a doctor’s note pertaining to the absence, send the original to the school nurse on the day your child returns to school.
What is the procedure if my child needs to take medication during the school day?
- We consider it important to remind you of our district policy #5330 concerning the administration of medication to students. The policy reads in part as follows:
"The administration of prescribed medication to a student during school hours will be permitted only when failure to take such medicine would jeopardize the health of the student or the student would not be able to attend school if the medicine were not made available to him/her during school hours. For purposes of this policy, "medication" shall include all medicine prescribed by a doctor."
In order to comply with this policy and for the protection and well-being of your child and other children we ask you to follow these steps:
Try to schedule the medication so that it can be given before the child leaves for school
and after the child returns home. Please do not give your child medication to take
If your doctor requests that medication be given in school, please note:
a. The parent/guardian must bring the medicine to the school in the original container.
The parent/guardian must give written permission for the medicine to be administered by the nurse.
The school nurse or parent/guardian is the only person permitted to administer medications in the school. When the nurse is not available you will be notified and will have the option of coming to school to administer the medicine yourself.
We require a written order from the prescribing physician, including the dosage, the time at which the medication shall be administered, the length of time for which the medication is prescribed, and the possible side effects of the medication. All medication orders must be renewed each year.
In addition, please note that the school nurse cannot administer over-the-counter drugs, such as cough medicine, decongestant tablets, antacids, or lozenges unless written under a doctor's prescription.
Changes in New Jersey law state that a student may now carry and self-administer inhalers for asthma or medications for severe allergic reactions by submitting the required form that can be obtained from your school nurse.
What should I do if my child forgot something at home?
- Any items that students forget to bring to school must be brought to the greeter's desk. In order to minimize disruptions of classroom instruction, items, including homework and projects, will be left in or by the appropriate teacher’s mailbox and will be distributed to the student at a suitable time. Lunches will be left inside the main office and available for student pick up before each lunch session begins.
What is the RealTime Parent Portal and how do I access it?
- Parents may access the Realtime Parent Portal using the link provided on the district website. Once logged in parents may access and update student contact information, view student attendance, and read the district acceptable use policy. Parents will be mailed information regarding the Realtime Parent Portal and directions explaining how to gain initial access to the site.
Is there a school dress code?
- Appropriate Clothing: Our students are young and proper clothing and attire for students at school reflects our concern about safety and appropriateness. Shoes without a back, (such as “crocs”, clogs, or flip-flops), and shoes with heels are inappropriate. Children play at recess and these types of shoes are unsafe for running or climbing. Additionally, excessively short clothing is also inappropriate, as are pants that drag along the floor. Suggestive or offensive comments on shirts or shorts are also unacceptable. We ask that you not send your child to school in these types of clothing.
Physical Education Attire: Students should dress comfortably for physical education class. Loose-fitting clothing is important for the wide range of movement activities that are covered. A good athletic sneaker is the best for physical activity.
Will my child take any standardized tests?
- The NJSLA will be administered to third grade students. Testing typically takes place in May.
- The CoGAT, which is used as a screening tool for our gifted and talented program will be administered to third grade students in the spring.