BRICK, NJ — More than a dozen cases of the coronavirus that have caused 12 classes to quarantine have led the Brick Township School District to delay its plans to increase in-person classes after Thanksgiving, the superintendent said Friday.
The new cases were identified in the last week, Superintendent Thomas Farrell said, and are addition to the nine cases Farrell reported at the Nov. 12 Board of Education meeting.
Because of the new cases and the continuing rise in cases in Ocean County and in the state, Farrell said the Phase 2 plan, which would increase the in-person learning to four days a week, will be delayed until after winter break.
"Schools are open, we are only delaying our plan’s timeline," Farrell said in a letter to the district posted on its website.
Ocean County has moved to "High Risk" on the state's COVID-19 Regional Risk Matrix, and has added more than 1,000 cases since Sunday. Brick Township has added nearly 200 cases in that time, from 1,944 on Sunday to 2,162 as of Friday, according to the Ocean County Health Department.
The new cases of the virus among Brick Township students and staff appear to be due to family connections and activities that aren't related to school, Farrell said.
"Based on our information, no cases have been connected to in-school transmission," he said.
In addition to classes being forced to quarantine, the Brick Township football team had its season cut short due to a positive coronavirus test.
District officials report every case to the Ocean County Health Department and speak with officials there daily, Farrell's letter said.
The Phase 2 plan initially was scheduled to move elementary students to four days a week as of Nov. 16, but Farrell last week had announced the district would delay until Nov. 30 for elementary students, with middle and high school students starting after the winter break.
Now all of it is on hold.
"At that time, it is our hope that elementary students would be offered a 4-days per week in-person schedule" in January, Farrell said. "Parents/guardians continue to have the option of choosing all virtual instruction. Further information will be forthcoming."
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