Wandering bear prompts New Jersey school district to cancel outdoor activities

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Monday, May 13, 2024
Wandering bear prompts NJ school district to cancel outdoor activities
Michelle Charlesworth has the story in South Orange on the bear sighting.

ESSEX COUNTY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Reports of a wandering bear in Essex County prompted a local school district to cancel all outdoor activities out of an abundance of caution.

The South Orange & Maplewood School District said Monday that all district schools were canceling outdoor activities.

That included open lunch at Columbia High School and outdoor recess at all other schools.

A spokesman for the school district said being that the last police report of a bear sighting was at about 10 a.m., all after-school activities would be held as scheduled.

The surveillance video shows a bear wandering in South Orange.

The spokesman said all students and staff would continue to stay inside for the remainder of the school day.

Bear sightings are up in New Jersey 69.5% compared to this time last year, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. However, total interactions are down by 1.26% and damage and nuisance is down by 13.24%.

More than half of those interactions were in Sussex County.

Some of the recent sightings include in Ridgewood on Monday, in Ramsey on Sunday, in Prospect Park and Haledon on May 10 and in Wyckoff on May 9.

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