By on October 12, 2020

Verona Superintendent Dr. Rui Dionisio sent out an email today saying that an individual at H.B. Whitehorne Middle School has tested positive for COVID-19.

Under the district’s hybrid learning protocols, the only people in the building at HBW now are administrators, teachers and custodians, along with a small number of special education students.

According to Dionisio’s email, the school district is working closely with public health officials and following guidance from the state and the Centers for Disease Control. “Any individual who was identified as being a close contact with the positive individual has been notified to self quarantine and monitor symptoms as a precaution as per the guidance of the Montclair Health Department,” he says.

“All exposed areas in our school have been disinfected and cleaned and all schools are disinfected on a daily basis. The District continues to work in consultation with the local health department on this matter and they have reported that there is no need to close school. The Montclair Health Department has advised the District that no additional action is necessary at this time.”

The HBW case is not yet reflected on the COVID case tracker for schools unveiled by the New Jersey Department of Health on October 1.

The email does not say what impact, if any the positive case will have on the district’s four-stage instruction plan. Verona had hoped to open the school year at stage three, but had to roll that back to stage two because of delays in window replacements and a lack of staff. This past Friday, October 10, Dionisio sent out an email saying that the district would provide an update on the stages at the October 13 Board of Education meeting and that it will share the district’s plan for having more students back in school buildings ahead of November 9, which was the date set for the transition from stage two to stage three. In that stage, all students are to be back in school buildings, although they will be in small groups and not all together at the same time.

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