Glen Rock High School goes virtual for two daysOct 18, 2020 09:38PM ● By Julie Maxwell Allen
Three Glen Rock High School students tested positive for the coronavirus over the weekend and the high school will shift to all virtual learning Monday and Tuesday, according to a letter sent Sunday by Glen Rock Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Brett Charleston, to district parents.
Later in the day, Glen Rock mayor Kristine Morieko said in a reverse 911 call to borough residents that the decision to only go virtual for two days was entirely the decision of the school district, and said the decision “is not consistent with the formal recommendation of (Glen Rock’s) OEM (Office of Emergency Management) and the local Board of Health.’’
In a text message to Glen Rock News Today, Morieko said the recommendation had been for the schools to go virtual for 14 days.
Charleston was contacted by GRNT via email and asked why he went against the borough’s guidelines.
“We followed the NJDOH [New Jersey Department of Health] guidelines which is what the district and I have shared from the beginning,’’ he replied. “These guidelines are part of our Return to School plan that was previously approved by the BOE (Board of Education) and NJDOE (New Jersey Department of Education).’’
In his letter to the parents, Charleston said that, per the NJDOH guidelines, “schools are only required to close when there is an outbreak,’’ which he defined as “two or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff with onsets within a 14-day period.’’ The definition continued to say that the people testing positive must “not share a household, and were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting.’’
According to Charleston, the three students – one of whom attends school virtually, while the other two attend in the hybrid setting, where they go to school on alternate days – live in the same household. That suggests they may be related, and perhaps siblings.
Charleston said in his letter that two of the students attended school on Thursday, and two of them took the PSAT, which was given at the school on Saturday. But he said students who took the test were not exposed to the virus.
“The students who took the PSAT were seated a safe distance from each other and were masked for the duration of the testing administration,’’ he said. “At no time was any PSAT participant or proctor in ‘close contact’ with the two infected students.’’
Dr. Parent, principal of the High School/Middle School, said the high school will be closed Monday and Tuesday in order to allow the school to do contact tracing. The middle school will be open and run on its regular A-B schedule both days. On Wednesday, both schools will be all-virtual for a half-day. The high school will resume in-person learning on Thursday.
GRNT asked Charleston since the Middle and High schools are in the same building, why the Middle School is open when the High School is closed.
“There is no rationale to not have MS students in school tomorrow,’’ he said. “The entire building was cleaned today with a focus on the PSAT testing rooms. Out of an abundance of caution, we went remote at the HS for Monday and Tuesday to provide additional time for contact tracing and notification.’’
Parent sent out a letter of his own Sunday, following up on Charleston’s letter. He reiterated that the school was following the state’s guidelines and said that, while high school will be virtual Monday and Tuesday, all sports teams will practice as normal. However, any games that were scheduled for Monday – Boys varsity soccer and JV football both had home games scheduled – will be canceled.
Parent’s letter also said all Homecoming activities scheduled for Friday have been postponed, as has the Food Truck Fiesta, which had been scheduled for Thursday and Friday.