As far as we are concerned, 47 cases is 47 cases too many. As we begin flu season and COVID cases are rising, a hybrid model would not only allow for better social distancing, but would help remedy the shortage of substitute teachers.
That’s NJEA spokeswoman Dawn Hiltner talking about the latest news out of Lakewood, the only district in Ocean County running full-day in-person classes. The district has recorded 47 cases of COVID-19 since school started in September; nine of those are in the last two weeks. Hiltner’s reference to the dearth of substitute teachers is true throughout the state as some teachers have either taken medical leave, resigned, or retired to avoid contagion. Of the 81 teachers in Lakewood who have left, 48 resigned, seven retired and 26 took a leave of absence.
Here’s the district’s break-down of coronavirus cases from September- November 1st, courtesy of Asbury Park Press:
Spruce Street School: Two students and five staff tested positive for COVID. The district also mentioned it is investigating the positive cases of two teachers and a substitute after the health department said it received “inaccurate information.” No further information was released.
Lakewood Middle School: Seven students and no staff members have tested positive for COVID. All students will be back to school on or before Nov. 10, the district said.
Oak Street School: The district confirmed no cases among staff and students. However, it cites the case of a student who tested positive in a rapid test and negative in a PCR (nasal swab) test.
Ella G. Clarke School: One student and one staff member have tested positive. The student last attended school on Sept. 30 and has since returned to school. The staff member last attended school on Oct. 19. The district said that the “staff member, close contacts and two classes are out on remote instruction” and will return on Nov. 9. It’s unclear how many people are quarantining in this case.
Clifton Ave. Grade School: Two staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. One staffer went into quarantine after Sept. 25 and has since returned to school. The other staff member went into quarantine after Oct. 9 and is back in school.
Piner Elementary School: Two students and three staff members. All cases were reported between Sept. 15 and Oct. 16 and have since returned to school, except one who will return by Nov. 9.
The district claims that all “close contacts were removed” but it is not clear how many that entails.
District Office: Two employees at the district office tested positive for COVID on Sept. 18. Both have returned to work.
White House: A staff member tested positive. The staffer and all close contacts quarantined for 14 days and are back to work.
Lakewood Early Education Center Campuses 1, 2 and 3: One student and eight staffers have tested positive. All students and staffers are expected back to school on or before Nov. 9.
Lakewood High School: Seven students and five teachers have tested positive at the high school. The district didn’t disclose how many people were deemed close contacts and had to quarantine.
Lakewood Athletics: A total 126 students participate in school athletics. The district confirmed that 25 players from the soccer team had quarantined between Oct. 19 and Nov. 2. The team missed three games.