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A person tested positive for the coronavirus at an elementary school in the Howell School District and now at least some students will have to switch to remote instruction for 14 days, according to a letter sent to parents from school officials.
In addition, Griebling Elementary School will have all-remote classes on Monday and Tuesday to allow for additional cleaning, district officials said in letters sent to parents Saturday. All students are remote Wednesday as part of the districts hybrid learning plan.
“This action will allow us to partner with the Monmouth County Health Department as they work through their contact tracing to ensure a safe reopening for our students and staff,” stated the letter from the Griebling principal and district superintendent. “While we have already begun the extensive cleaning process, this additional time will allow us to optimally complete the process.”
Howell students returned to schools on Thursday under a hybrid cohort plan for those families that opted for in-person learning. One group attended school Thursday and the second cohort had in-person classes Friday under a special schedule for the first shortened week of school.
On normal weeks, the first cohort attends Monday and Tuesday and the second cohort is in class on Thursday and Friday with all students remote on Wednesday. Howell is also allowing elementary students in its kindergarten to second grade schools, like Griebling, to attend school on the opposite cohort days, but the students remain with their group in a separate classroom and learn virtually under supervision from another instructor.
The letter did not state if the person who tested positive for the virus was a staff member or student.
The principal and superintendent did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday night.
“You are encouraged to observe our child for any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 for the next 14-days,” the letter read. “Please contact your child’s physician if any signs and symptoms are noted. Additionally, please notify your child’s school nurse if your child presents with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or if your child tests positive for COVID-19.”
Other schools throughout New Jersey have also reported positive cases of COVID-19 since the start of the school year. Students in Little Silver, Chatham and East Brunswick have tested positive for the virus.
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Rebecca Panico may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.