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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Mar 09, 2020

Schools Announce Closures as Coronavirus Strikes Monmouth County

Several schools, including regional universities, have announced closures as the number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey continues to rise.

Red Bank Regional (RBR) was closed Tuesday, March 10 so the school’s custodial staff could “perform additional deep cleaning of the building” after the sibling of a student tested “presumed positive” for the virus, according to school officials. It was again closed on Wednesday, March 11, and ultimately it was announced that the school would halt face-to-face instruction until further notice.

According to Superintendent Louis Moore and RBR Principal Julius Clark, “Immediately following the report, we participated in a local meeting with a Monmouth County Health Official, town officials, EMT, Little Silver Police and the Little Silver Superintendent. The Department of Health is strongly recommending that symptomatic individuals should immediately contact their primary health care physician regarding testing measures.”

The school’s announcement on Monday came hours after an 83-year-old female from Hazlet and a 27-year-old male from Little Silver were reported as being the first two presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in Monmouth County.

A “presumptive positive case” means local officials have tested the patient and received a positive result, but the CDC has not confirmed a positive diagnosis.

Both patients have been reported to be in stable condition.

The Little Silver man has a sibling at RBR, according to Little Silver Superintendent Carolyn M. Kossack.

According to the Little Silver Public Schools Facebook page, the elementary schools were closed Thursday, March 12. The closing came after the district announced on Wednesday it would remain open, citing the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission saying there is “no recommendation to close any of the PK-8 sending school districts at this time.”

No further information has been given, however, it is reported that parent response to the district may have prompted the immediate Thursday closing in Little Silver.

Monmouth University also cancelled classes for the remainder of the week after a student reported flu-like symptoms to the campus Health Services department. The student was transported to Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch. No details of the student’s condition are available at this time. Classes will resume after spring break on March 23.

Princeton University announced it will offer online classes rather than face-to-face instruction later this month. Rowan University students are set to return from spring break on March 23, but the school has now extended the hiatus until March 30 as a precaution against the virus.

Rutgers University announced on Tuesday that all classes from March 12 through the end of spring break on March 22 are cancelled. Starting then, all instruction will be delivered remotely until at least April 3.

Gov. Phil Murphy declared the first-ever public health state of emergency in New Jersey. There are currently 11 cases of coronavirus in New Jersey, according to the CDC. One death has been reported as of Tuesday afternoon. A man in his 60s from Bergen County passed away, according to Murphy.

β€œThe State of New Jersey is committed to deploying every available resource, across all levels of government, to help respond to the spread of COVID-19 and keep our residents informed,” Murphy said in a statement.

More details will follow as they are released.