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Schools To Go Remote After Holiday Break


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Verona’s public schools go on their holiday break on December 24 and Superintendent Dr. Rui Dionisio announced last night that all schools will use remote instruction only for two weeks after the break ends to tamp down possible transmission of COVID-19 in the schools.

In an email, Dionisio said that the schools, which will all be back to a hybrid instruction model today, will shift to fully remote learning from January 4 to 15. In the hybrid system, a small group of students are in each classroom every day while the rest of the school’s students learn from home. Verona High School and H.B. Whitehorne went fully remote two days before Thanksgiving after rising COVID-19 cases at both schools and are returning to hybrid instruction today. All elementary schools were remote from November 30 to December 4, and students returned to those buildings on Monday.

Under the new announcement, all schools will resume hybrid learning on January 19, 2021. “This proactive and preventative decision is necessary as we continue to monitor the pandemic and make efforts to mitigate the potential transmission of individuals after the December holiday season,” Dionisio said. “We have discussed this decision with our Board of Education as well as our administration, faculty/staff, and parents on our school reopening committees.”

“We value the importance of in-person student learning but we must also recognize that maintaining the safety and well-being of our staff and students is of the utmost importance,” he added. “We also recognize that adjustments to the school schedule may pose challenges for some families. While flexibility is important for all of us to maintain during the fluid nature of this pandemic, we are providing advanced notice at this time so families and staff have ample time to plan accordingly for January 2021.”

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Verona and in the school community. The district announced yesterday that there were two new cases at Forest Avenue elementary school. On December 6, there was one new case at Laning Avenue elementary school. In an email sent that day, the district disclosed that 42 people in the school community were then in quarantine because of the virus and that that seven people were then positive. For privacy reasons, the district’s announcements do not specify whether the affected individuals are students or staff.

Yesterday, Essex County said that there have now been 337 positive cases of COVID-19 in Verona since it began releasing statistics in March. That is a 12% increase from the start of December. Verona’s positives had risen 44% in November. Fifteen Verona residents have died from COVID-19, putting it on track to be the third leading cause of death here this year.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


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