MANCHESTER – Superintendent David Trethaway confirmed that two people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the school system.
In a letter to parents he noted that someone from Township High School community had tested positive for the coronavirus. A second case was also reported.
The school district is unable to release any further information about those individuals due to privacy rules. That includes disclosure of whether they were students, teachers or members of the district’s staff. “I am limited in discussing individual cases,” Trethaway said.
He noted that the school system had “adopted extensive cleaning and disinfecting protocols throughout the district on a daily basis. Our custodial staff cleans the buildings throughout the day when students are present especially in high-touch areas such as doors.”
“Additionally, there is extensive cleaning after staff and students leave for the day. Any area that is identified as a possible place where a student or staff member who may have tested positive was present is given special attention,” Trethaway added.
The superintendent said, “our regular cleaning throughout the building is sufficient for any situation. Before each day, staff and students complete a COVID-19 questionnaire and each person has their temperature checked upon entering the building.”
“Any person having a temperature of 100 degrees or more is immediately sent to the nurse and isolated for further evaluation and possible removal from school,” he added.
Trethaway said, “any person who has a tested positive would be quarantined according to guidelines set forth by the Ocean County Board of Health. Any positive case is reported immediately to the Ocean County Board of Health and the district works cooperatively with the department to address the situation.”
“I should say that the Ocean County Board of Health has been extremely helpful in this area. It is also necessary to identify any student or staff who would be considered a close contact to any person who has tested positive,” Trethaway added.
He noted that this process is also completed in cooperation with the Board of Health and that any decision on changing the status of the school is made after consulting with the Board of Health.
Trethaway’s letter to parents can be viewed on the district’s webpage. In it he said there was “nothing you need to do at this time.” As part of the district’s protocols, daily screening of students takes place which also include mandatory temperature checks and the completion of health forms. Students and staff must wear masks
Students and staff are separated from close contact through 6-foot spacing and the number of students per classroom have also been reduced.
Ocean County has seen a rise in positive COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks. According to the county health department, this marks the addition of over 800 positive cases in that time period.
The OCHD also noted that Manchester has seen a rise from 897 cases since September 10 to 930 as of September 23. The county noted several in September where it added triple-digit totals of new cases.
Treathaway said he understands the concerns that students, parents and staff have concerning the pandemic and reminded people t stay home if they were sick, to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, to have their mouth covered when sneezing or coughing and to maintain the six feet social distancing rule.
He stressed that wearing face coverings in school was important as well as mandatory and that filling out the health forms daily when attending school was necessary.
County health department representatives reported there were more than 12,300 cases of the coronavirus since March and 927 positive cases recorded in Manchester Township.
Also noted was that 978 residents of Ocean County died from complications of the coronavirus which includes 161 from Manchester.
Parents were urged to reach out to their child’s school nurse if they had any questions or concerns.
Dr. Anthony Fauci who has served as the director of the National institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and worked and has been at odds with President Trump’s coronavirus task force told Governor Phil Murphy that the state has shown enough progress to safely and “competently” reopen schools and its economy.
This was noted on the same day that the state announced 588 new cases of the coronavirus.
New Jersey’s daily case total has been around 400-500 which Fauci said was relatively small when compared with the rest of the nation which has a range of 35,000-45,000 new cases each day.
During the governor’s daily press conference updates on the coronavirus health crisis State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli reported that new cases had risen in recent weeks among young people with approximately half of those who tested positive to be in the age range of 10 to 29.