OLD BRIDGE – With a rise in state and local COVID-19 numbers similar to the spring, “in good conscience the district cannot continue with in-person instruction,” Schools Superintendent David Cittadino recently said.
Cittadino updated the community of the switch to a fully remote schedule, from Nov. 23 through at least Jan. 19, in a video on Nov. 19, which is posted on the district’s website.
The district began its hybrid in-person instruction model in October.
“Today [Nov. 19] the New Jersey Department of Health identified Middlesex County as one of several high COVID risk region,” Cittadino said in the video.
The township is one of five coronavirus hotspots in Middlesex County, Old Bridge Mayor Henry had announced in his coronavirus update on Nov. 10. He said officials are working closely with state and county officials to address concerns.
As of Nov. 19, the school district has had 14 positive staff cases and 22 student positive staff cases, which has led to the quarantine of 74 staff members and 159 students. There are pending cases with 14 staff members and eight students, according to data on the district’s website.
“During this period, we will assess the pandemic impact on our community, looking for the earliest opportunity to restart our Phase 2 schedule, bringing our most at risk learners in first,” Cittadino said. “This can only occur when data demonstrates that the COVID pandemic is regressing.”
Cittadino said “there is much promise with the introduction of vaccines as a new weapon in our arsenal to combat this tragic virus.”
“I know that vaccines are not for everyone; however, we hope that vaccines utilized in conjunction with social distancing and face coverings will allow us to defeat this pandemic expeditiously and return all our children to the classrooms,” he said. “We recognize that it is in these classrooms where you need your child, and our teachers need them as well. Thank you to all our community members for your understanding during this time. I am grateful for my team of education professionals who have been remarkable and inspiring assets during these past few months.”
Additionally, Cittadino said he truly appreciates the district’s Task Force members whose support he has relied upon throughout the pandemic.
Old Bridge officials reported 129 new positive COVID-19 cases over a five-day period, which brings the total number of cases to 1,916, according to Henry in his coronavirus report on Nov 18.
The five-day period was from Nov. 12-17.
The township has lost 87 residents to COVID-19 since March, according to Middlesex County.
For more information, visit the district’s website at www.oldbridgeadmin.com.