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Despite plans that include daily temperature checks by school bus drivers, children remaining in cohorts throughout the day, plexiglass shields and other measures, Lakewood — which controversially opened with in-person instruction five days a week — is seeing cases of coronavirus.
At least two staff members and several students are in quarantine after testing positive, according to a letter from the school district to parents, Asbury Park Press reported Friday.
One staff member had no contact with children and the other staff member, who is a secretary in an off-site building, also contracted the virus from family members.
A third staff member’s spouse tested positive but the employee did not. As a safety precaution that person is working from home.
The district also told families that a student “allegedly tested positive this week,” according to APP.com but the student was only in close contact with “two other contained students within a self-contained setting.” The entire class/cohort and staff was put on remote learning.
Lakewood’s plan to go back to in-person instruction drew criticism from teachers and the resignation of a paraprofessional.
Michael Inzelbuch, the attorney for the Lakewood school district, said many parents in the district don’t have jobs that allow them to work from home and that only 8% of students chose remote learning.
Inzelbuch also said many of the district’s 6,500 public school students don’t have their own laptops for at-home instruction.
The district’s reopening plan included coronavirus testing every other week for students and staff.
A growing list of schools around New Jersey that started with in-person instruction have had to shutdown because of cases of coronavirus.
The state has left the decision to close up to the district. But the Department of Health has 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 different classrooms get sick within 14 days of each other and no clear connection between the cases can be easily identified.
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Allison Pries may be reached at email@example.com. Have a news tip or a story idea about New Jersey schools? Send it here.