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About 20 schools across the state interrupted face-to-face learning, just over two weeks in the school year, because of students and teachers who tested positive for the coronavirus.
In most cases, the switch to totally remote learning is temporary – usually for some up to 14 days. And many districts have only had to send students home from one school, where COVID-19 cases were found, but students from other schools in that district continue to learn in person.
The State Health Secretariat issued guidelines for schools on how to deal with positive cases, when to ask students to quarantine and when schools need to switch to remote learning.
Among the recommendations is the closure of the school if two or more people in various classrooms become ill within 14 days and a clear connection between the cases cannot be easily identified.
“Closing is a local decision that must be taken by school administrators in consultation with local public health,” state guidelines say.
Here are the districts that we know have been affected so far. This list will be updated throughout the day as new information becomes available:
Mahwah: Two schools in the municipality informed parents September 21 that they had positive cases of coronavirus. Mahwah High School switched to remote learning Tuesday, September 22nd. Its on-site hybrid model will resume on Thursday, October 1st. And a staff member at Ramapo Ridge Middle School tested positive for COVID-19. This school will do remote learning from Tuesday, September 22. Face-to-face classes for high school will resume on October 6. Joyce Kilmer, a fourth and fifth grade school, notified her parents on Wednesday that she would switch to remote learning while doing contact tracking for a team member who tested positive for coronavirus.
Woodcliff Lake: Woodcliff Lake Middle School closed for 14 days after a teacher reported a positive test for COVID-19 on September 10, Superintendent Lauren Barbelet said NJ Advance Media. The district administrative team notified families and other team members who had close contact with the teacher on September 8. The school reopened on Wednesday.
Medford County: Lenape High School in the Lenape Regional High School District was closed on September 18 because a second COVID-19 case was discovered there. The school was reopened for face-to-face classes Monday, September 21, director Tony Cattani said in a letter sent to parents.
Washington Township: School officials announced on Saturday, September 12 that three district officials tested positive for coronavirus. Hurffville Elementary School, which had two employee cases, will be closed for 14 days. Hybrid instruction is scheduled to resume on September 28. Washington Township High School, which had a positive test by a staff member, also suspended face-to-face classes, with the exception of some special education students. Distance learning was extended to the high school on Wednesday, September 23 through September 28, because another staff member and several students reported positive results on Tuesday, according to a letter for the school community of Superintendent Joseph N. Bollendorf.
Pennington: The Hopewell Valley Regional School District said on Wednesday, September 16, that a case of COVID-19 was found at Central High School. The school was closed for employees and students until Monday, September 21 to allow for a thorough cleansing, said Superintendent Thomas Smith in a letter sent to parents.
East Brunswick: A freshman on the Middlesex County Technical and Vocational Schools campus on the East Brunswick campus positive test for coronavirus, officials announced September 10. This campus had only virtual learning until September 22. The half-day face-to-face classes were resumed on September 23. The county’s vo-tech school system also has campuses in Edison, Perth Amboy, Piscataway and Woodbridge. These schools remained open under a hybrid face-to-face and remote learning plan.
West Windsor-Plainsboro: Community Middle School closed on September 16 for face-to-face classes and closed until Friday, September 18, after a team member tested positive for the coronavirus. No student fell ill in the district. In person classes resumed Monday, September 21st.
Little Silver: a student in Markham Place Middle School tested positive for COVID-19 on second day of classes, Superintendent Michael Ettore said in a letter to parents. As a result, students in the sixth-grade cohort A were asked to stay home without going to school on Thursday, September 10, until further notice for remote learning, he said last week. The school serves students from fifth to eighth grades.
Howell: Griebling Elementary School switched to remote instruction for 14 days on September 12, for some students, after a person from preschool through second grade tested positive for coronavirus, according to a letter from school officials to parents. Howell Township schools opened on September 10 for students divided into two cohorts. Half attend in person on Mondays and Tuesdays and the other half attend on Thursdays and Fridays.
Township of Ocean: Ocean Township High School suspended face-to-face classes from Wednesday, September 23, until Tuesday, September 29, due to three related COVID-19 cases. School officials told parents about the first case in a message on September 18. This student had not been to school during school hours, but participated in an extracurricular outdoor activity last week. The second case was reported on September 21 and on September 22 the third case was reported, according to a message to parents on Tuesday from Superintendent Jim Stefankiewicz.
Chatham: Chatham High School on September 9 announced that it switched to remote education two days after the district’s planned hybrid school year, after a student tested positive for the coronavirus. “This case could be related to a non-school event that took place over the holiday weekend,” said Superintendent Michael LaSusa of Chatham. An undisclosed number of additional cases have been identified among students, according to a 9/11 letter from LaSusa for the team and the parents. Chatham High School is due to reopen on September 29.
East Hanover: Schools in the district will be virtual until September 30, after a coronavirus case affecting several schools, says a notice posted on the district’s website.
Pompton Lakes: Pompton Lakes High School transferred all students to remote education on Wednesday, September 15 through September 29, because school officials found that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Three high school veterans tested positive the week before. These cases did not hinder classes because they were linked to an exhibition unrelated to the school environment, said superintendent Paulo Amoroso in a letter to the community.
Frankford Township: the district switched to virtual instruction for two weeks after a student tested positive for coronavirus on 9/11, Frankford Township Superintendent Braden Hirsch said. Frankford Township has a preschool to eighth grade school with about 500 students.
Elizabeth: Teachers in Elizabeth will work from home until October 2, after at least three team members have tested positive for coronavirus.
Students studied remotely since the beginning of the school year, but teachers worked in their classrooms. Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Academy was closed friday, September 11 for cleanup after a team member tested positive for coronavirus. The other sick employees work at Mabel G. Holmes School # 5 and Juan Pablo Duarte-Jose Marti School # 28, school officials said.
Westfield: Westfield High School switched to virtual instruction on September 16, for two weeks, after six students there tested positive for the coronavirus, the district superintendent wrote an email to parents and guardians. Westfield High School reopened on September 10 with a hybrid face-to-face and virtual education plan. Wednesday was a day of virtual instruction and the college plans to return to a hybrid calendar on October 1st.
Belvidere: The entire school district switched to virtual instruction on Friday, September 18 because of a positive COVID-19 case. All buildings in the district were being thoroughly cleaned up in anticipation of the reopening on Monday, according to a letter sent to parents on Thursday by school officials.
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