Find all of the most important pandemic education news on Educating N.J., a special resource guide created for parents, students and educators. As schools reopen across N.J., we want to know what is and isn’t working. Tell us about it here.
In-person instruction has been put on hold for more than two dozen schools in 22 districts across the state since the school year started because students and teachers have tested positive for the coronavirus.
In most cases, the switch to all-remote learning is temporary — typically for a few to as many as 14 days. And many districts have only had to send home students from one school, where the cases of COVID-19 were found, while students at other schools in that district continue in-person learning.
Gov. Phil Murphy has said that about 400 school districts started the school year doing a mix of remote and in-person learning, about 300 are fully-remote and 75 are doing only in-person instruction.
The state does not maintain a list of the schools or districts that have had to close down, but on Sept. 30 it launched a dashboard that identifies counties, number of schools and cases that were transmitted in school buildings or through school activities. Currently, 11 schools have had a total of 43 cases.
The state Department of Health issued guidelines for schools on how to handle positive cases, when to ask students to quarantine and when schools need to switch to remote learning.
Among the recommendations is to shut down the school if two or more people in multiple classrooms get sick within 14 days and a clear connection between the cases cannot be easily identified.
“Closure is a local decision that should be made by school administrators in consultation with local public health,” the state guidelines say.
Here are the districts we know to be affected so far. This list will be updated throughout the day as new information becomes available:
Richland: St. Augustine Prep, an all boys Catholic high school, has moved to remote learning from Sept. 28 until Oct. 12 because of two unrelated student cases of COVID-19, according to a statement from the head of the school, Fr. Robert J. Murray.
Mahwah: Two schools in the township informed parents Sept. 21 that they had positive cases of coronavirus. Mahwah High School moved to remote learning Tuesday, Sept. 22. Its on-site hybrid model will resume Thursday, Oct. 1. And a staff member at Ramapo Ridge Middle School tested positive for COVID-19. That school did remote learning beginning Tuesday, Sept. 22. On-site classes for the middle school will resume Oct. 6. Joyce Kilmer, a school for fourth and fifth grades, notified parents Wednesday that it would move to remote learning while it does contact tracing for a staff member who tested positive for coronavirus.
Woodcliff Lake: Woodcliff Lake Middle School closed for 14 days after a teacher reported testing positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 10, Superintendent Lauren Barbelet told NJ Advance Media. The district’s administrative team notified families and other staff members who came in close contact with the teacher on Sept. 8. The school reopened on Wednesday.
Medford Township: Lenape High School in the Lenape Regional High School District was closed Sept. 18 because a second COVID-19 case was discovered there. The school was reopened for in-person classes Monday, Sept. 21, principal Tony Cattani said in a letter sent home to parents.
Upper Township: The Upper Township Primary School is switching to virtual instruction from Sept. 29 to Oct. 18 after two staff members with cold-like symptoms tested positive for the coronavirus, Superintendent Vincent Palmieri said.
Dennis Township: The district had five positive coronavirus cases in September, with one student and four staff members, according to a chart on the district’s website.
There are 10 cases linked to confirmed outbreaks associated with in-school transmission at three schools in Cape May County, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard. Officials did not identify the schools.
Washington Township: School officials announced Saturday, Sept. 12 that three district staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. Hurffville Elementary School, which had two of the staff cases, will be closed for 14 days. Hybrid instruction resumed on Sept. 28. Washington Township High School, which had one staff member test positive, also suspended in-person classes with the exception of some special education students. Remote learning was extended for the high school on Wednesday, Sept. 23 until Sept. 28 because another staff member and several students reported testing positive on Tuesday, Sept. 22, according to a letter to the school community from Superintendent Joseph N. Bollendorf.
MIlford: Holland Township School closed for one day, on Sept. 17, for contact tracing and a deep cleaning after one person reported testing positive for the coronavirus, according to a letter on the school’s website.
Pennington: Hopewell Valley Regional School District said Wednesday, Sept. 16 that one case of COVID-19 was found at Central High School. The school was closed to staff and students until Monday, Sept. 21 to allow for deep cleaning, superintendent Thomas Smith said in a letter sent to parents. Toll Gate Grammar School was closed Sept. 28 until Oct. 1 because one person tested positive. Another case was reported on Sept. 30 at Hopewell Elementary School, according to a letter from Smith. Students there moved to remote learning for Oct. 1 and 2.
East Brunswick: A freshman at Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools campus in East Brunswick campus tested positive for the coronavirus, officials announced Sept. 10. That campus did only virtual learning until Sept. 22. Half-day, in-person classes resumed on Sept. 23. The county vo-tech school system also has campuses in Edison, Perth Amboy, Piscataway and Woodbridge. Those schools remained open under a hybrid plan of in-person and remote learning.
West Windsor-Plainsboro: Community Middle School closed Sept. 16 for in-person instruction and was closed through Friday, Sept. 18 after one staff member tested positive for the coronavirus. No students have been sickened in the district. In-person classes resumed Monday, Sept. 21.
Howell: Griebling Elementary School switched to remote instruction for 14 days on Sept. 12 for some students after a person in the pre-kindergarten through grade 2 school tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a letter from school officials to parents. Howell Township Schools opened Sept. 10 to students who were broken into two cohorts. Half attend in-person Monday and Tuesday and the other half attend Thursday and Friday.
Lincroft: Christian Brothers Academy moved to all virtual learning beginning Thursday, Sept. 25 through Friday, Oct. 9. In person classes are scheduled to resume Oct. 14, after the holiday weekend. Three students tested positive for COVID-19 within the past two weeks, although the cases “seem to have originated outside of school,” President Brother Frank Byrne said in a statement on the school’s website. The all-boys Catholic High School has about 880 students.
Little Silver: A student at Markham Place Middle School tested positive for COVID-19 on the second day of classes, Superintendent Michael Ettore said in a letter to parents. As a result, students in cohort A of the sixth grade were asked to stay home from school as of Thursday, Sept. 10 until further notice for remote learning, he said last week. The school serves students in fifth through eighth grades.
Township of Ocean: Ocean Township High School has suspended in-person instruction from Wednesday, Sept. 23 until Tuesday, Sept. 29 because of three related COVID-19 cases. School officials told parents about the first case in a message Sept. 18. That student had not been in school during school hours but attended an outdoor extra curricular activity last week. The second case was reported Sept. 21 and on Sept. 22 the third case was reported, according to a message to parents Tuesday from Superintendent Jim Stefankiewicz.
Red Bank: Red Bank Regional High School switched to remote learning Sept. 29 and 30 because one student tested positive. Classes resumed Oct. 1.
Chatham: Chatham High School on Sept. 9 announced it switched to remote learning two days into the district’s planned hybrid school year after a student tested positive for the coronavirus. “This case may be linked to a non-school event that took place over the holiday weekend,” Chatham Superintendent Michael LaSusa said. An undisclosed number of additional cases were identified among students, according to a Sept. 11 letter from LaSusa to the staff and parents. Chatham High School said it would reopen Sept. 29.
East Hanover: Schools in the district will be virtual until Sept. 30 after a coronavirus case that affects multiple schools, a notice posted on the district’s website says.
Long Valley: Long Valley Middle School was closed from Sept. 14 through Sept. 18 after an individual tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a letter from school administrators.
Morristown: Morristown High School switched to all-remote instruction for three days, Sept. 29 through Oct. 1, after a person affiliated with the school tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said. Morris School District officials said 37 people are quarantining for 14 days and that “a close contact” of the person who tested positive is also displaying symptoms and is waiting for test result. The district described the infected person as “a member of the Morristown High School community” and didn’t say if the person is a student or staff member.
Pompton Lakes: Pompton Lakes High School reopened Sept. 29 after moving all students to remote learning on Wednesday, Sept. 15 because school officials learned that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Three upperclassman from the high school tested positive the previous week. Those cases did not disrupt classes because they were linked to an exposure that was not related to the school setting, Superintendent Paul Amoroso said in a letter to the community.
Frankford Township: The district switched to virtual instruction for two weeks after a student tested positive for the coronavirus on Sept. 11, Frankford Township Superintendent Braden Hirsch said. Frankford Township has one, pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school with about 500 students.
Wantage: High Point Regional High School closed from Sept. 25 through Oct. 7 because two individuals tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 22 and 24 in unrelated cases, according to a letter from Superintendent Scott D. Ripley.
Cranford: Cranford High School reopened Tuesday, Sept. 29 after a person tested positive for COVID-19. The transmission occurred at a non-school event, Superintendent Scott Rubin said in a statement to parents. And one classroom at Hillside Avenue School was unable to have in-person instruction Tuesday, Sept. 29 while the township health department conducts contact tracing, Rubin said in a statement to the community Tuesday. That classroom will be back in-person Wednesday, Rubin said.
Kennilworth: David Brearley Middle-High School moved to remote learning Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 after a student tested positive after an exposure unrelated to school, according to a letter from school officials.
Elizabeth: Teachers in Elizabeth will work from home until Oct. 2 after at least three staff members tested positive for coronavirus. Students had been distance learning since the school year started but teachers were working from their classrooms. Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Academy was closed Friday, Sept. 11 for cleaning after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus. The other sick staffers work at Mabel G. Holmes School No. 5 and Juan Pablo Duarte-Jose Marti School No. 28, school officials said.
Westfield: Westfield High School switched to virtual instruction on Sept. 16 for two weeks after seven students tested positive for the coronavirus, the district superintendent wrote in an email to parents and guardians. Westfield High School reopened on Sept. 10 to a hybrid plan of in-person and virtual instruction. It plans to return to a hybrid calendar on Oct. 1.
Belvidere: The entire school district moved to virtual instruction on Friday, Sept. 18 because of a positive COVID-19 case. All district buildings were thoroughly cleaned and reopened on Monday, Sept. 21, according to Superintendent Chris Carrubba.
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Allison Pries may be reached at [email protected]