Coronavirus News: Paterson schools extend remote learning till mid-January

The district will make another assessment on the decision in mid-December
PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- A school in New Jersey voted to extend remote learning until mid-January due to coronavirus concerns.

Paterson Board of Education voted on Wednesday in favor of continuing remote learning of its public schools until Tuesday, January 19.

"Given the predominant local pandemic conditions, we cannot in good conscience, allow school buildings to reopen at this time," Board of Education President Kenneth Simmons said. "I thank the district administration for their due diligence in gathering the data to enable the Board Commissioners to make an informed, scientifically-based decision that is in the best interests of Paterson Public Schools students, families, and staff."

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The vote was made based on several key points.

New Jersey Department of Health data shows there have been 16 confirmed outbreaks of COVID associated with in-school transmission since August, resulting in 58 new cases among students and teachers.

The district says Passaic County ranks third in the state in the number of new cases linked to in-school transmission.

As a result, several schools in the county including The Haledon School, Pompton Lakes High School, Passaic Valley High School, Passaic County Technical Institute have suspended in-person instruction for a time.

The district says the state's transmission rate has been on the rise for five weeks now.

They also highlighted that the number of new COVID-19 cases is expected to increase during the winter holiday season.

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"The COVID-19 pandemic remains a dominant part of our reality. As much as all of us are looking forward to the time when students and teachers can be together again in school buildings, that time has not arrived yet," Superintendent of Schools Eileen Shafer said.

Teachers will be remote, but administrative staff and security will continue to operate with all precautions in place from school buildings.

The new resolution also allows the superintendent to modify staff and identify them as essential as needed to properly run school operations.

The district plans to make another assessment of the local pandemic conditions by December 15.

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