The Lakewood Scoop, a media platform that serves the ultra-Orthodox community, reports today that eight staff members of Lakewood Public Schools District who teach at Ella Clarke Elementary School have contracted COVID-19 and two have been hospitalized with pneumonia. The Scoop quotes Lakewood school board attorney Michael Inzelbuch, who says they got sick because all eight they dined together while one of the teachers had an active infection. No students caught the virus.
That’s a different explanation for the rash of infections than the one offered by Kimberlee Shaw, president of the local teachers union. Shaw told the Asbury Park Press that Inzelbuch was lying:
First of all, the district’s statement that eight people dined out is a lie. Two Clarke staff members were out together and one of them exhibited symptoms nearly a week later. So the staff member in question could have just as easily contracted COVID at school or in the community. Secondly, blaming staff for getting sick during a pandemic is both heartless and irresponsible. The school district has been putting staff at risk since September. The focus should be on keeping people safe and supporting those who are sick.
The Press’s Gustavo Martinez notes this is a rare instance of the district sharing COVID information (even just to the Scoop) with the public. In November Superintendent Laura Winters said, after she reported 46 cases from September-Novvember, that she will no longer announce district infection data because it “upsets staff.”