When schools reopened in New Jersey, it was inevitable that there would start to be coronavirus cases. In anticipation of this- and due to staff concerns and other issues- some districts chose to go all remote for the time being. Other districts, though, opted to do a hybrid model of in-person and at home (for students whose parents decided to keep them home due to concerns about the virus). As would be expected, some schools have started to have students test positive for coronavirus cases. One such incident happened in Cranford, New Jersey at the High School.
Last night, parents were notified around 11 PM of the incident with a phone call and that, due to the positive case, the high school would be all-remote for the next two days. CELEB reached out to superintendent Scott Rubin to find out why they were only going remote for two days- as opposed to two weeks, as would be a suggested quarantine for anyone exposed to the coronavirus.
Last night, Rubin put out the following letter on the district website:
“September 23, 2020
Dear Cranford community,
The purpose of this letter is to inform you that a student at Cranford High School has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently self-isolating. The District is working closely with public health officials in order to assure the health and safety of our community. The Township Health Office, who is conducting contact tracing, will communicate directly with those individuals who may have been exposed to this student and will advise those families accordingly.
As a result of the positive case, Cranford High School will transition to full remote learning tomorrow, Thursday, September 24, and Friday, September 25, to provide time for a deep cleaning and disinfecting of the building. Please note the results of the contact tracing will assist the Department of Health in providing guidance on when Cranford High School can resume in-person instruction. In the meantime, the Township Health Department has verified that, at the present time, all other District schools should continue to operate on their current schedules. I recognize that the emergence of COVID-19 cases so early in the school year is unsettling, especially after so many of you expressed joy and relief to be back in school. I also recognize that many of you would like more detailed information about the case or contacts of the case. The information I am providing you here has been composed in consultation with and vetted by the Department of Health, and I am not in a position to comment further. We are hopeful that the mitigation measures we have in place, such as universal masking, screening procedures, social distancing, enhanced cleaning procedures, and other precautions, will have their intended effect and reduce or minimize the risk of transmission in the school environment. We encourage parents and students to continue following the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention promoted safeguards, such as:
- Staying home when you are sick;
- Washing hands often for at least 20 seconds;
- Covering coughs and sneezes and properly disposing of tissues;
- Limiting close contact with people who are sick and not sharing food, drinks and utensils;
- Practicing social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart);
- Wearing a face covering while in school; and
- Continuing to monitor your health for symptoms
As always, we appreciate your support and cooperation. Moving forward, you can assist us by remaining vigilant but sensible in your approach to dealing with this health concern. Thank you for your ongoing patience and flexibility as we continue to make our way through this school year. I will continue to keep you informed to the greatest extent possible.
Two Days vs. Two Weeks
CELEB reached out exclusively to Rubin to clarify why there would not be a 14-day quarantine, as the student who tested positive could have exposed others.
“Thank you for the question,” Rub told CELEB. “Please note the results of the contact tracing will assist the Department of Health in providing guidance on when Cranford High School can resume in-person instruction. In the meantime, the District has transitioned to full remote learning for two days, while we await further guidance, and during this time, a deep cleaning and disinfection will take place.”
CELEB then reached back out to Rubin to clarify what would happen if there were no results by next week. More specifically, would Cranford High School reopen or would they go remote for a longer period of time?
All Rubin would say at this time is “Thank you for the follow up question. The Township Health Department will provide us with the necessary guidance.”
Not The First, Not The Last
Sadly, as aforementioned, with schools reopening this will not be the first- or last- case of coronavirus that a school will have to deal with. It will certainly be interesting to see how things continue to develop and all we can hope for is a best case scenario of minimal spread and low impact of the virus.