Bordentown Regional School District to continue hybrid model despite two schools shutting down

STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

In-person instruction will still remain available for students in the Bordentown Regional School District despite two schools closing down because of COVID-19 cases.

Superintendent Dr. Edward Forsthoffer said in an exclusive interview with centraljersey.com that the school district will continue its hybrid model into the near future after both Peter Muschal Elementary School and Bordentown Regional Middle School were shut down because of three recent COVID-19 cases in each school.

“We’re trying to make sure that our students are safe and we maintain their high levels of education,” Forsthoffer said on continuing the hybrid model. “We feel comfortable and safe doing this.”

COVID-19 cases that have occurred with students and staff members in the district have primarily happened from those individuals being in contact with people outside the district, Forsthoffer he.

According to the superintendent, the district has done a good job with its contract tracing and has not seen any sort of transmission rate from students and staff attending in-person classes.

“We have done a great job with social distancing and have all the PPE needed to keep our schools clean and safe,” Forsthoffer said. “Our students have been awesome with wearing masks at all times. We need to remain vigilant and we will not see a huge transmission of the virus.”

Peter Muschal Elementary School was closed for two weeks after a test confirmed a student had COVID-19 on Nov. 24.

The school district then received a notice on Nov. 29 that a Bordentown Regional Middle School student, who Forsthoffer said had not been attending the hybrid model for a few weeks, tested positive for COVID-19 and prompted the school district to shut down that school as well.

As recommended by the state, Forsthoffer said both schools were shut down because of three cases occurring in a 14-day span.

Each school will be closed for two weeks as in conjunction with state guidelines.

The superintendent said that Muschal Elementary will reopen on Dec. 6, while in-person instruction for the middle school will resume on Dec. 8.

Forsthoffer also added that a student at Bordentown Regional High School did test positive on Dec. 1 for the virus and that the district has begun looking into the situation and is beginning its contact tracing process.

All students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days and test negative for the virus before coming back to school.

With New Jersey being in the yellow zone, Forsthoffer said that any student or staff member who shows any symptoms of COVID-19 in the school is required to quarantine until a test result shows that they don’t have the virus.

If the state enters or is on the verge of being in the red zone, the school district will close down all schools and revert to virtual learning, Forsthoffer said.

The district’s last day of school before winter break is Dec. 23 and classes are set to resume on Jan. 4. Forsthoffer said that the hybrid plan, as of now, will still be running when students and teachers come back from winter break.

However, Forsthoffer added that the district is looking into other options and scheduling plans for students and teachers after the new year and when the first marking period ends in February.