Woodbridge School District switches back to fully remote through Jan. 19 in efforts to avoid COVID-19 outbreaks

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WOODBRIDGE – With increases in COVID-19 infection rates in the district and a “premier priority” to keep students and staff safe, school officials have decided to return to a fully-remote schedule through Jan. 19, according to Schools Superintendent Robert Zega.

Zega updated the community of the switch, which begins Nov. 23, in a letter on Nov. 17, which is posted on the district’s website.

The district began its hybrid in-person model in October.

“The pandemic has challenged our resolve to provide safe educational sanctuaries for our students and staff,” he said. “Our premier priority has been, and will continue to be, the safety of our staff and students. It is with this priority that we have arrived at our decision. We feel that by reducing the number of people in our schools, we can reduce transmission rates, decrease the DNCR (NJ Daily New Case Rate) and prevent outbreaks.”

Zega said the district currently has 94 students and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Of those, 63 have been inside our schools,” he said. “Although we have prevented the spread of infection in our schools with our safety practices, the chances of a dangerous outbreak increases as the number of positives in our community increase.”

As part of district’s preventative measures, almost half of its schools – 12 of 25 – have been forced to switch to fully remote due to quarantining.

“We have over 500 students and staff who have had to quarantine,” Zega said. “Our district has done a heroic job preventing outbreaks, keeping our students and staff safe, and providing instruction as the infection rate skyrockets.”

The district will continue to provide in-person instruction for the district’s special programs as much as possible.

Zega said over the next two months of fully remote instruction, there is a total of 10 full days and two half days of scheduled holidays.

“Only 26 full days of instruction will be fully remote instead of hybrid,” he said. “We will also continue our extracurricular activities, including high school sports, during the next two months.”

Woodbridge Township is seeing a second wave of coronavirus cases. The township reported 121 new COVID-19 cases over a three-day period, which brings the total number of cases to 3,049, according to Mayor John McCormac in his coronavirus report on Nov. 16.

Forty-four new cases of COVID-19 were reported for Nov. 13, 39 new cases were reported for Nov. 14, and 38 new cases reported for Nov. 15.

McCormac has said the recent average new COVID-19 cases in the town are close to numbers in April.

For more information, visit www.woodbridge.k12.nj.us and www.twp.woodbridge.nj.us