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Hackettstown High School reports positive COVID-19 case on first day back to school

A student's mother learned that a prior test had returned positive an hour after school started

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County)– A Hackettstown High School student tested positive for COVID-19 on the first day back to school, according to a message sent to parents by Hackettstown Superintendent, David Mango.

Classes began at 7:50 a.m. on Thursday with approximately 351 Cohort A students on campus. Just after 10:30 a.m., parents were notified by automated voice message that somebody had tested positive.

The student’s mother told RNJ that she received notice at 8:40 a.m. that a COVID-19 test her daughter had taken on Tuesday returned positive. The mother said she immediately called the school to inform them of the test and that she would pick up her daughter. RNJ is not identifying the student because she is a juvenile.

The mother said her daughter was tested as part of standard protocol at Morristown Medical Center when she presented there for an unrelated health concern which did not include symptoms of COVID-19.

In a social media post following-up on his initial message, superintendent Mango said the school had no knowledge that the student was tested until they learned of the positive result Thursday morning. Upon learning of the result, the superintendent said, the district’s health and safety protocols “were immediately put into action.”

“The parents of students identified as close contacts, closer than six feet and for a time period longer than ten minutes, will be notified and the students will be quarantining at home,” the superintendent’s automated message said.

The containment response to a confirmed case of COVID-19, outlined in the school reopening plan on the district’s website, says that the confirmed case will isolate for at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared and they have no fever for 24 hours. Additionally, all students and faculty in class or on a bus with a confirmed case will quarantine for 14 days.

“The school administration and school nurse are working closely with the health department to ensure that all necessary precautions are being taken,” the message said.

The containment response could also include a recommendation of “school-wide virtual instruction for a day to allow health department to complete investigation and contact tracing.” The message did not say specifically whether the 335 students in Cohort B will be on campus on Friday. A different Hackettstown High School student told RNJ that they’ve received no information of Friday classes being cancelled.

The superintendent’s message said that high school custodial staff will “be completing a more detailed cleaning of the affected classroom before students return.”

The message also urged parents to continue monitoring their own students health and to keep them home if they are sick.

“For the safety of all, when in doubt, keep them out,” the superintendent wrote in a social media post.

The positive student’s mother told RNJ that her daughter will receive a second COVID-19 test to rule out the possibility of a false-positive.

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