Verona’s public schools sent out an email this afternoon to say that there are four new school cases of COVID-19. There is one case each at Laning, F.N. Brown and Forest elementary schools, as well as one case at H.B. Whitehorne Middle School. The district sends out alerts on positive cases when the individual has been in a school building during a contagious period.
The district said, however, that it would not close schools because of the four cases. (Morristown High School was closed to in-person instruction last Friday because of a spike in cases there.)
There are now 13 Verona school individuals in quarantine, according to the district’s COVID dashboard, which is updated daily. Verona’s former superintendent, Dr. Rui Dionisio, had said on October 19 that 90% of Verona’s staff had met the state’s October 18 deadline for school personnel to be vaccinated.
The four new school cases come as Verona hit 1,200 total town positives on Sunday, according to data released by Essex County. That is up from 1,099 total positives when school started on September 9, an increase of 9.2%. Verona has not had any additional COVID deaths since it recorded its 18th in May.
Many Essex County towns have continued to experience a significant rise in COVID positives. According to county data analyzed by MyVeronaNJ.com, South Orange leads with a 20.6% increase since the start of the 2020-2021 school year, followed by Millburn (13.8%), Maplewood (9.5%), Roseland (9.3%), and Nutley (9.2%). Caldwell had a 7.3% increase and Cedar Grove had a 5.7% rise. Newark’s cases rose just 5.6%.
Verona’s vaccination rate continues to edge up, however. According to the state COVID dashboard, 74% of all Verona residents are now fully vaccinated against the virus, up from 73% a month ago. The state says that 61% of Veronans age 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated, as are 84% of residents who are 65 and older. The state data does not yet break out the vaccination rate of children ages five to 11, who are now eligible to get the Pfizer COVID vaccine. The County opened three of its vaccination sites to children on November 3 and the shots there are free.