After Spotswood, NJ homecoming dance, 200 students quarantined
SPOTSWOOD — After getting a taste of “normal” school life at a homecoming dance, 200 high schoolers now must quarantine after a few students who attended the Saturday event tested positive for COVID.
The possibility of the 10-day protocol was included on a permission form each household signed in late September, due to the challenges of contact tracing such an event, according to Spotswood school officials on Monday.
A number of students stayed home Monday after feeling symptomatic over the weekend, the open letter said.
The homecoming football game was at home on Saturday afternoon against Manville High School, with the dance inside the school's "cafetorium" that night.
By Thursday, Spotswood Schools Superintendent Graham Peabody said three students from among the 375 who had attended the dance had since tested positive, as first reported by NJ.com and later confirmed by Peabody to New Jersey 101.5.
Masks were required excepted for when dancing or eating, as part of the dance protocol that attendees previously signed off on, officials said.
Attendance had been limited to Spotwood High School students and anyone who went had submitted a completed COVID Screening Form prior to entry.
Quarantine would be over as of Tuesday, Oct. 19, according to school officials.
Students who either are vaccinated or who were previously finished with isolation after testing positive for COVID 90 days prior to the dance could submit proof of their status in order to avoid having to quarantine, as long as they stay asymptomatic, under the pre-stated policy based on state and CDC guidance.
By Thursday, the number of Spotswood students still quarantining was down to about 180, after such documentation was submitted, Peabody said.
As of this week, the rate of 16- and 17-year-olds in state who had received at least one vaccine dose against COVID-19 was at 70.1%, state health commissioner Judith Persichilli said during Wednesday's state pandemic briefing.
Those being quarantined as a precaution after potential exposure could submit a negative test result taken on or after Thursday, to shorten their return date for school events to Saturday.
Spotswood High School serves about 680 students in grades 9 - 12.
Also on Wednesday, state officials said another 27 new school outbreaks had been reported between Oct. 5 and Oct. 11, involving 125 students and 17 staff members at schools around the state.
That brings the total for the 2021-22 school year to 96 outbreaks, so far, involving a total of 521 cases among students and staff, according to the state COVID dashboard.
Among school outbreaks this year, a West Milford high school football game also proved to be a spreader event, with more than three dozen cases linked to a game on Sept. 10, as reported by NBC New York.
West Milford High School officials said that the situation was “overwhelmingly concentrated in individuals not fully vaccinated,” according to the same report.