Manasquan High School closed over coronavirus cases

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MANASQUAN — Manasquan High School has closed and transitioned to fully remote learning after several positive cases of COVID-19 among students and staff were reported at the school, Superintendent of School Frank Kasyan said in a letter Wednesday.

The first day of remote learning began Thursday, Nov. 19 and will continue through the Thanksgiving break. The school’s anticipated reopening for in-person instruction is Nov. 30.

The shutdown only affects the high school and Manasquan Elementary School will continue to operate normally for in-person instruction, as scheduled.

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According to Mr. Kasyan, the decision was made in consultation with the county Department of Health.

“We feel it is the most appropriate and safest course of action at this time,” Mr. Kasyan said. “This temporary closure also aligns with the teacher conference early dismissal days next week and the Thanksgiving holiday such that we are maximizing our period of quarantine while minimizing our loss of in-person instructional time.

“Please understand this was a difficult decision to make. I believe wholeheartedly that our students are best served being in school with their teachers. I must, however, balance that against maintaining the health and safety of our students and staff,” the superintendent said.

In the past two weeks, the school has reported six positive cases of COVID-19 — bringing the district’s total number of cases, to date, up to 12.

In a letter sent out on Nov. 10, the superintendent announced that a student at Manasquan High School had tested positive for the coronavirus.

On Friday, Nov. 13, the superintendent sent out a letter notifying the school community of another COVID-19 positive high school student. The student, however, does not attend in-person instruction and has not recently been in the school buildings.

The following Monday and Tuesday, Mr. Kasyan sent out two more letters reporting that two staff members and one student at the high school had tested positive. All three had last been in the school building on Saturday, Nov. 14 for extracurricular activities.

In each instance, the superintendent noted that the district had worked with the DOH to conduct contact tracing, and notified any close contacts of their exposure.

Then, with the announcement of the high school’s closure on Wednesday, the superintendent also reported a positive case of a student who does not attend Manasquan High School, but had attended an extracurricular activity at the school on Saturday, Nov. 14.

Mr. Kasyan said the district has begun the contact tracing process and notified any close contacts.

“It is important to emphasize that we have no information that these cases we have recently reported are related in any way. In fact, the available information indicates that all these students were infected from separate sources outside of school,” Mr. Kasyan said.

The superintendent said the district is also “investigating the need to suspend other school extracurricular activities, however, as of this writing, outdoor athletic activities including practices and games will continue as scheduled during the remote learning period unless you are otherwise notified.”

The high school building will be open if students need to pick up materials or access technical support.

Check out our other Manasquan stories, updated daily. And remember to pick up a copy of The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.

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