One of NJ’s largest school districts asks all teachers to stay home after 3 positive COVID-19 cases

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District officials said on Friday that teachers in Elizabeth Public Schools would work from home for the next two weeks. At least three employees will test positive for COVID-19 following reports of working in school buildings.

Students in Elizabeth, one of the largest public school districts in the state, have been learning from home since the beginning of the school year. But district employees were required to attend school because teachers taught remotely from computers in their classrooms.

“On the recommendation of Elizabeth City Health Officer Mark Colicchio, the district is instructing directing employees to work from home until October 2,” said Elizabeth School District spokesman Pat Politano. “

In Elizabeth, Thomas a. The Edison Career and Technical Academy did the cleaning on Friday, September 11, after a staff member for the coronaires closed for the cleanup. The school reopened the following Monday.

School officials said staff members of at least two other Elizabethan schools have conducted positive tests for COVID-19, ever since Mabel G. Holmes School No. 5 and Juan Pablo Duarte-Jose Marti School No.

Politano said the cases are not considered connected, but 28,300 students want to reduce the number of buildings in the district.

“While there are no documents of transmission from within the schools, the district has made all of its decisions since the Global Health Emergency began based on data and science. Current data indicates that this is the best decision at the moment, ”said Politano.

Elizabeth was one of several school districts in New Jersey where teachers were required to report their classrooms during school days, even though their students were home. Many of the teachers used their district’s computers, webcams, smart boards, and the Internet to lead lessons in vacant classrooms to watch their students zoom or other streaming video services.

Elizabeth originally plans to reopen her school for the years 2020-2021, with hybrid plans in-person and on-home learning. But at least 375 Elizabethan teachers decided in favor of an all-out plan for students after requesting work from home for health reasons.

The president of Elizabeth’s Teachers Association said she is happy that the district is temporarily allowing teachers to work from home, but they need to do more before returning to school.

“I look forward to engaging the board in discussions about additional security measures and protocols. John Griffin, head of the 3,900-member Teachers Association, head of the Elizabeth Education Association, said that we need to help ensure safe places for work on October 5 and beyond.

“COVID-19 will continue to be a threat two weeks from now when most employees are scheduled to return, and the cycle continues until we step in and make smart choices,” Griffin said.

As of Friday, at least 14 New Jersey school districts have closed schools or switched to distance learning for several days or longer, when students or teachers tested positive for the virus in the first few weeks of school Was. In addition to Elizabeth, districts reporting positive cases include: Belvidere, Chatham, Frankford, Howell, Little Silver, Lenape Regional, Middlesex County Vocational School, Hopewell Valley Regional, Pompton Lake, Washington Township in Gloucester County, West Windsor- Plainsboro, Westfield and Woodcliffe Lakes.

State officials said they have no evidence that any COVID-19 cases are the result of transmission within schools.

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Kelly hebauer Can be reached [email protected].

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