Year barely started, some NJ schools go virtual over COVID-19 cases
Multiple New Jersey schools are temporarily suspending in-person instruction or making other changes after positive COVID-19 were confirmed in students who reported to school for class.
Other districts have been making changes after coronavirus exposures.
The cases come as schools across the state open — some for all in-person instruction, some all-remotely, and some on hybrid schedules meant to limit the number of students present at any one time.
Each of the school systems described below started the year with hybrid instruction.
The state, in guidance issued to school districts, does not recommend closing a school for a single confirmed COVID-19 case, but says students and staff in close contact with a positive case should be excluded from school for 14 days. It recommends stricter steps as scenerios present greater risk. Two or more linked cases may be considered a reason to close a school based on a local health department investigation, and the state tells district to close schools for more significant outbreaks.
East Brunswick Tech
East Brunswick Tech will go all-virtual until Sept. 21 starting Thursday after a ninth-grader tested positive and attended class on Friday, according to a message from superintendent Dianne Veilleux on the school's website.
"Circumstances have made it challenging to trace all those in our school community who came in close contact with this one confirmed case," according to the message.
Chatham High School
Students and parents at Chatham High School got word late Wednesday night that their classes will go all-virtual because of a student's confirmed COVID-19 case, superintendent Michael LaSusa said in a letter reported by TAP into Chatham.
LaSusa said that because he found out late Wednesday evening about the case and was not able to talk to the state Department of Health, he made the decision for the school to go all-virtual on Thursday and Friday, according to TAP into Chatham.
The exposure may have come at a non-school event during the Labor Day weekend, LaSusa said.
A positive test of a student at the Markham Place School in Little Silver will require a cohort of sixth-graders to go virtual for the second day of school, according to a letter from superintendent Michael Ettore.
"In order to be safe, local public health officials recommend that students who were potentially exposed to the child who tested positive should remain home on remote instruction until the contact tracing process is complete," LaSusa said.
He said all exposed areas of the school have been cleaned and disinfected and the school is taking precautions to clean frequently cleaned areas.
The school offered a message of encouragement in a message on the school Twitter account.
"We know last night's news was not what anyone wanted to hear. This school year is all about perseverance! Make it a great day, Warriors, whether you are at home or at school," read the message.
East Brunswick Public Schools
Several students from several East Brunswick public school district schools are in 14-day quarantine after being identified as “close contacts” to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and attended school before the district received notification, according to a message from superintendent Victor Valeski.
None of the students have tested positive for COVID-19 but will attend class virtually along with their siblings as a precaution, according to Valeski.
Classes at Rutgers University in New Brunswick are unaffected by positive cases confirmed in four student athletes. Most Rutgers classes are being held online under plans set in recent months.
"Those student-athletes and the staff member have been quarantined and the university, in conjunction with public health officials, is conducting contact tracing to identify any individuals with whom the student-athletes have been in contact with," the school said in a statement.
The four positives were in the sports of men’s lacrosse, gymnastics, and wrestling.