Integrating State of the Art Psychiatric Treatment With Outstanding Academics in a Dynamic School Environment

To learn more, or to refer a student, contact Jennifer Hayes, our Director of Enrollment, at 908-543-0220 Ext 200 or

Cornerstone During COVID-19

Parents, Students and Educators
What They Say

“Though I didn’t know it at the time, CDS meant everything to me. Ultimately, I was the one who made the choice to turn my life around and go down a new path.”
Student, Fort Lee, NJ

“I want to personally thank you for all of your help with this very difficult family. Their son is in great need of treatment and I know both parents are comforted by the high level of care that he will receive at Cornerstone. For them I know that they see the 24/7 hot line as a godsend: Mom said that it’s the first time that she can really sleep at night.”

Case Manager, Essex County, NJ

“Cornerstone meant a lot to me. It taught me how to cope. It has truly made me the person I am today, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Student, Union, NJ

Outdoor space at Cornerstone


Lunch, class and therapy outdoors

With the beginning of the 2021 fall semester, Cornerstone will end its hybrid schedule and fully re-open for all students to attend school on a daily basis.

Safety as a Priority

Air purifiers at Cornerstone


Some of the air purification systems placed in rooms throughout the school.

Returning all students to full-time attendance has not been taken lightly by the school leadership and we continue to take all the steps necessary to help ensure the safety of everyone in our building at all times.  These include: 


  • Except for very few, all Cornerstone staff have been fully vaccinated. For the very small number who are not, we will require testing test at least once per week as an extra safety measure.
  • We use Medify air purification systems in every room in the building throughout the full school day. Each unit uses true Hepa 13 filters which removes bacteria and virus carriers from the air. 
  • MERV13 air filters have been installed in our heating and air conditioning units throughout the building. They are regularly updated and greatly improve the safety of the building’s indoor air.
  • While we are not yet requiring all students to be vaccinated, we strongly encourage parents to have their children vaccinated as well for both their safety and for those of their families. 
  • All students, staff and visitors continue to be required to wear masks at all times in the building. 
  • In addition to our normal evening cleaning procedures, our daytime custodian implements continual daytime cleaning and disinfecting protocols of all touchable surfaces (in particular, bathrooms, doorknobs, and handrails) throughout the school day. This cleaning and disinfecting routine is repeated each evening as well.
  • Everyone entering the school at any time undergoes a temperature check and completes a Covid safety checklist.
  • Staff and students are continuously trained in applicable social distancing practices for a school setting, and to follow strict health and wellness guidelines, such as handwashing. Hand sanitizer machines are available at the entrance of every room.
  • Weather permitting, we use Cornerstone’s outdoor spaces each day so that students have time to remove their masks and relax while, of course, maintaining social distance. We also provide both education and therapy outdoors as much as possible.

For some students, after a difficult virtual/hybrid school year, attending school on a full-time basis may be a struggle academically and/or emotionally and we are taking a number of pro-active steps to help these students overcome these challenges. 


Emotional/Social Initiatives

Cornerstone’s emotional/social initiatives include:

  • Our daily psycho-educational groups will focus on social emotional stressors associated with being back in school full-time. 
  • Increased number of after-school socials throughout the year to help foster a positive and comfortable transition.
  • Monthly “Rest Stops” …Rest Stops are social opportunities facilitated by our therapists that allow students the time to socialize with one another: playing games, doing arts and crafts, etc. Students select the period they wish to attend the Rest Stop.  
  • On-going focus in multiple parent support groups on helping parents support their children and themselves during this pandemic.


Academic Initiatives

We, of course, have many on-going academic initiatives to assist our students but the ones that will become even more relevant for students struggling with the full return include:

  • Providing students with academic support specific to their transition, while assisting them in managing short- and long-term assignments, preparing for tests, completing homework etc.
  • Daily specialized subject support and tutoring as needed. Content area teachers are available each afternoon for students with a focus on the areas of curriculum in which they may be struggling.
  • Homework plans and academic planning are regularly adjusted and strategically modified as specific student challenges emerge or are overcome.

While we very much hope that full-time attendance can continue in all schools throughout NJ, we remain prepared as long as this pandemic continues to return to virtual and/or a hybrid schedule if it is determined that such a change would be best for the safety of our students.