A growing number of school districts have shut their doors and switched to remote learning as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb across New Jersey.

As of Sunday morning, all schools were closed for the foreseeable future in at least nine NJ counties: Bergen, Burlington, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Monmouth, Morris, Sussex and Warren, according to the state Department of Education.

Ocean County was also also on the list but at a press conference on Sunday morning Lakewood is still opening on Monday. Board of Education attorney Michael Inzelbuch said that given Lakewood's large "minority" population most parents will not be paid if they don't work.

"That's the way of Lakewood," he said, adding that he hoped the township would work on a solution to this issue.

Among the cases in the public eye for the longest, three people who attended a private party in Princeton late last month, including a South Brunswick High School student, now have all tested positive for COVID-19.

The Princeton Department of Health said that a total of 47 people attended the party Feb. 29, including two from Boston and three from Pennsylvania who all tested positive for the virus. Roughly 14 Princeton residents also attended the party.

A 49-year-old Princeton woman tested positive, according to the health department. She began feeling ill on March 3 but still attended a March 7 dance festival on Staten Island and a meeting at Princeton Medical Center on March 9, according to the health department, before she finally began to self quarantine.

"All individuals attending that party have been instructed to stay home as if they tested positive," the health department said in a statement but did not provide results for those other 13 residents who were at the party.

The Middlesex County Health Department notified South Brunswick Township officials of the positive diagnosis on Saturday and said both residents are recovering at their respective homes.

Parents of students at Mercer Elementary School in Hamilton Township were notified by the Mercer County Special Services District of an individual who tested positive, as administered by the Mercer County Division of Public Health.

"A limited number of students and staff have potentially had close contact with the presumptive positive individual," Schools Superintendent Kimberly J. Schneider wrote in a letter.

Old Bridge Schools Superintendent David Cittadino shared a message on his Twitter account from the family of a child who is a student at Walter M. Schirra Elementary School, as one of the parents is being treated for COVID-19.

The patient, whose identity was not shared was "critical and currently fighting the toughest fight," while the remaining parent and child both have not shown any symptoms for nine days as they remain self-isolated from the community, according to the status as relayed by Cittadino.

Among the first NJ schools to shutdown and switch to remote learning, Red Bank Regional High School confirmed that a 17-year-old female student tested positive for COVID-19, days after her older sibling tested positive for the virus. Both siblings are residents of Little Silver.

Meanwhile, at the higher education level, Rutgers Police in a message on their Twitter account said a biomedical engineering professor at Rutgers–New Brunswick has tested positive.

A letter sent to the Rutgers community said the professor, who was not named, "had close contact with a limited number of individuals at Rutgers following his own exposure and prior to his own period of self-isolation."

The professor was exposed at a "non-Rutgers location" in late February, according to a letter sent to the Rutgers community.

The letter said the individuals with whom he had close contact were notified and asked to self-isolate as well.

As of Sunday morning, New Jersey had at least confirmed 69 positive cases. A second death was reported late Saturday, as a woman in her 50s who died while being treated at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold Township.

State numbers appeared to lag behind reported figures at the municipal and county levels Sunday, as more tests were processed.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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