Quarantine Rules Change For Brick Schools

Superintendent Dr. Thomas Farrell explains the new quarantine rules. (Screenshot by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  BRICK – The amount of time a student or staff member would have to quarantine after being exposed to the Coronavirus has been reduced by the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey Department of Health.

  During the December 16 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Thomas Farrell said the district had been informed that day about the updated quarantine protocols, which align with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  “It reduced the quarantine time period in certain cases where you can test after so many days and come back in,” he said. “There are many stipulations…but it is a positive step in getting our students (that are being quarantined) back in school quicker.”

  While 14 days of quarantine is still recommended for those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the revision allows for shortened time frames to end quarantine after seven days with a negative test result collected between five and seven days of quarantine.

  The updated quarantine time frames would no longer use regional transmission risk levels to determine their time frames.

  According to the CDC, a 14-day quarantine period is optimal, but they said they recognize the value of shortening quarantine in certain circumstances.

  “The optimal 14-day exclusion timeframe may pose significant challenges for individuals, and decreasing the duration can reduce the burden on individuals and increase compliance,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “The CDC has determined that these shortened timeframes are acceptable options.”

From left: Susan McNamara, Director of Planning, Research & Evaluation; Dr. Alyce Anderson, Director of Curriculum and Instruction; Kristen Hanson, Director of Special Services; William Kleissler, Director of Human Resources. (Screenshot by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  In other news, Dr. Farrell said that the school district is no longer afforded the option of having virtual snow days this winter as they did last year.

  All school closing days would be added to the end of the school year calendar, he said.

  In other school news, the two high school hockey teams have combined into one, the superintendent said, and they are back to utilizing the Ocean Ice Palace on Chambers Bridge Road.

  (The rink was scheduled to close in July but was given a new life when it was announced that it had been purchased by the Harmony Hockey Group, who plans to revitalize it and keep it as an ice rink.)

  “We have a very competitive team, and the games are a great event to attend,” the superintendent said. “If you get a chance, please come out and support our combined Brick hockey team.”

  And finally, Board President Stephanie Wohlrab said the district is still in need of staff, including teachers, substitutes and bus drivers.

  That’s true said Human Resources Director William Kleissler, who said the employment information is on the school web page.

  The requirements for becoming a substitute teacher have recently changed, he said. Only 30 college credits are needed, down from 60, and subs must be at least 20 years old.

Board President Stephanie Wohlrab, Superintendent Dr. Thomas Farrell and Business Administrator James Edwards discuss issues at the latest Board of Education meeting. (Screenshot by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  “We are going to continue to post on our website for any openings that are there,” Kleissler said. “There’s currently I believe 12 posted positions. We’re interviewing people for substitute positions, for secretaries, cafeteria workers and things of that nature, and hopefully we’ll continue to have a group of people to fill in,” he said.

  The greatest need is for bus drivers, he said. The district will train anyone who wants to be a bus driver for their CDL license.

  “I don’t think many people realize that,” Kleissler said.

  The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Thursday January 20 at 7 p.m.