Verona’s public schools will now require anyone who is not fully vaccinated to quarantine for 14 days if they have been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19. The previous quarantine had been 10 days, or seven if the person has a negative COVID-19 test.
Dr. Lydia Furnari, Verona’s interim superintendent of schools, said in an email today that Verona made the change because the New Jersey Department of Health has elevated our region to a “High Risk” level for COVID-19. But the announcement also comes as Verona continues to have the highest percentage increase in COVID positives of any Essex County town.
Since Thanksgiving, Verona has had 111 new COVID cases according to data from Essex County, a 9.1% increase. By contrast, Caldwell had a 6.1% increase and Cedar Grove had a 6.8% increase. Montclair has had a 4.3% increase and the increase in Newark has been 3.9%. Verona also had the highest rate of new COVID infections in the county in November, at 8.3%.
According to the state COVID dashboard, only 75% of all Verona residents are now fully vaccinated against the virus, unchanged from December 1.
The email from Dr. Furnari said that exposed close contacts who have no COVID-like symptoms and are fully vaccinated, do not need to quarantine or be excluded from school. According to the district’s COVID dashboard, which is updated daily, there are currently 16 positive cases in the school system, and 40 people are in quarantine. For privacy reasons, the district does not disclose whether those infected or quarantined are students, faculty or other staff.
“Please remain vigilant as we enter into the last two weeks of school before our holiday break,” Dr. Furnari wrote. “If you are not feeling well, or are showing symptoms of COVID-19, please remain home from school and contact your school nurse.” Verona schools will close for winter break on Friday, December 24, and reopen on Monday, January 3.