MORRISTOWN, NJ — As the Morris School District saw a rise in coronavirus cases, all schools will go virtual Tuesday. Officials will continue contact tracing as they await test results in "essential district operations," according to a notice from the district.
School officials announced Sunday that 14 people in the district tested positive from Feb. 1 through Friday. The district, meanwhile, changed a coronavirus protocol for Morristown High School and Frelinghuysen Middle School.
Last week's cases were linked to Morristown High School, Frelinghuysen Middle School and four elementary schools: Alexander Hamilton, Alfred Vail, Hillcrest and Woodland. Officials didn't clarify how many cases each school reported. But the district's COVID-19 dashboard — last updated Sunday — shows 15 active cases in schools from Grades K-5 and 14 in the middle and high school. The totals also include staff in those schools.
The district adjusted quarantine protocols for Morristown High School and Frelinghuysen Middle School. When someone tests positive for COVID-19, officials will determine whether they had any "true close contacts."
The Center for Disease Control defines a true close contact as someone within 6 feet of a person who tested positive for at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period. Those determined to be true close contacts will quarantine for 14 days.
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The district's previous protocol required anyone present with someone who tested positive within a classroom to quarantine for 14 days. The elementary schools will continue following this protocol. But local health officials recommended the change at the upper levels, according to officials.
"This (more cautious) approach will still apply at the elementary level
for the time being, since we have more people together in one classroom
for a longer period of time," district spokesperson Dr. Jennifer van Frank told Patch in an email. "At the upper grades, especially at the
high school, there are many fewer people in the classroom at any one
Most high school students chose the all-virtual route, which increases spacing in the classrooms.
However, bus requirements will also remain the same at all schools. Anyone on a bus with someone who tests positive must quarantine for 14 days.
The Morris County Division of Public Health has reported 74 new cases in Morristown from Jan. 29 to Monday. Officials have logged 1,692 infections in Morristown since the pandemic began.
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