MADISON, NJ—Madison School District Superintendent Mark Schwarz provided an update on the status of the district’s reopening plan on Monday, one day after the first coronavirus case was reported in the schools.
“While all students benefit from being in school everyday,” said Schwarz, “our younger students carry the least risk and the greatest reward from in-person learning. While we finalize our procedural, scheduling and safety preparations for Phase 2, please know that we will be giving priority in this shift to our elementary students. Nevertheless, we are simultaneously planning for Phase 2 at MJS and MHS.”
The district announced its first potential coronavirus case on Sunday, when the district said a member of the Central Avenue School community has tested positive for the virus.
“While this case has not yet been confirmed by the NJDOH,” Schwarz said, “we are proceeding with the assumption that this is a positive case. Based on the circumstances, NJDOH does not recommend school closure.”
Schwarz said the public should be aware that the person who reportedly tested positive will not be present in school until they meet New Jersey Department of Health safety guidelines for returning. The superintendent added that contact tracers from the department of health will contact any individuals that may have experienced close contact with the positive person.
Schwarz said that despite the positive test, the district was ahead of schedule for moving into Phase 2, which includes everyday in-person instruction with early dismissal. According to the Madison District Reopening Plan, moving to Phase 2 requires consistent safety compliance, consistently positive health data, and NJDOH recommendations
“Originally, our timeframe for Phase 2 was sometime in the October/November window,” said Schwarz. “We now expect to be able to make this transition in early October and may be able to bring back Kindergarteners to daily instruction even sooner. We will provide clear expectations regarding these timelines in the coming week.”
This article originally appeared on the Madison Patch