WALL TOWNSHIP — To date, there have been 23 positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff in Wall Township public schools since schools opened in September, Superintendent Tracy Handerhan reported Tuesday. However, none of the cases resulted from in-school transmissions, according to contact tracers, she said.
Ms. Handerhan said the cases include four staff members, six elementary students, five intermediate students and eight high school students. The district enrolls about 3,650 prekindergarten-through-12th-grade students in seven schools.
“To my knowledge, no cases were connected to school transmission. In the younger grades, most have been traced back to a COVID-positive parent. In the upper grades, most have been linked to non-school-related organized activities,” she said at Tuesday’s Board of Education workshop meeting.
Ms. Handerhan noted that coronavirus cases have rapidly increased in the local area in recent days.
The school district is currently in the second phase of its restart-and-recovery plan, in which elementary students are on campus five days a week with early dismissal, and secondary students are in two separate cohorts that alternate between on-campus learning and remote learning at home.
“The hybrid cohort schedules at the intermediate and high schools have drastically reduced the number of students required to quarantine due to the definition of close contact in school.
“We’re dealing with changing variables and we must provide the safest environment as possible for our students and staff. That is a tremendous responsibility and a priority,” she said.
Ms. Handerhan also gave an update on the cyber attacks that caused internet connection problems and disrupted virtual instruction classes in October.
She said a new firewall has been installed, and “service has been much improved.”
The superintendent also announced that the district will hold a virtual public forum at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16, to discuss the findings of a study of mercury found in the flooring at the Wall High School south gymnasium.
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