Verona High School and H.B. Whitehorne Middle School will be going back to fully remote instruction as of tomorrow, Tuesday, November 24, after rising positive cases of COVID-19 at both schools. In addition, all elementary schools will go remote from November 30 to December 4.
According to an email sent by Superintendent Dr. Rui Dionisio just after 9 p.m. on Monday night, there was one new case of COVID-19 at VHS and HBW today, and a third case that, he said, affects both Brookdale Avenue Elementary School and F.N. Brown Elementary School. These cases are in addition to the reported case at VHS on November 18 and HBW on November 22. There were other cases at all schools except Brookdale in October.
“The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) recommends that school districts should consider closing school to in-person learning for 14 days if 2 or more cases that are identified within 14 days occur across multiple classrooms, are not linked to exposures outside the school setting, and a clear connection between cases cannot be easily identified (outbreak involving multiple cohorts),” Dionisio’s email reads.
Both VHS and HBW will go to fully remote for the next 14 days, which means through Monday, December 7. Hybrid, in-person instruction will resume at both schools on Tuesday, December 8, “barring no further transmission risk,” the email says.
Dionisio’s note states that, according to the latest COVID-19 Activity Level Report from the New Jersey Department of Health, “COVID-19 activity level for the Northeast region, in which Verona is included, is HIGH overall, and the COVID-19 case rate is identified as VERY HIGH. The last times our region was at Activity Level High (3) was March 21 and May 2-16.” According to Essex County data today, Verona is now at 274 COVID-19 positives, up four from Sunday. Overall, Verona has seen a 30% increase in COVID-19 cases in November.