PHILLIPSBURG, NJ (Warren County) – The Phillipsburg School District will continue to learn virtually through Jan. 8, 2021, according to Superintendent Gregory A. Troxell.
The district planned to reopen from hybrid to in-person learning on Thursday, November 19 but now students will return for in-person instruction on Monday, January 11. The state announced 4,540 new cases this past Sunday alone and a seven-day average of over 3,500 cases per day, Troxell said.
“Clearly, the second wave is here. Based on a comprehensive review of our current and forecasted positive COVID and close contact trends as well as our Region, most likely, moving to High Risk (Orange) status on Friday, the Phillipsburg School District will continue with remote learning from Thursday, November 19th through Friday, January 8th,” Troxell said.
“This closure covers a time period when school districts traditionally see cold and flu cases spike, in part due to close contact during holiday gatherings and travel. Students will return for in-person instruction on Monday, January 11th. The decision to continue with remote learning was made in consultation with the Warren County Department of Health, the Executive County Superintendent, our COVID Response Team, and with the support of our Phillipsburg Board of Education. The closure is a proactive step intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within Phillipsburg and our surrounding con1munities during this time period,” Troxell said.
Good evening PHS. Please review this very important message from Dr. Troxell regarding return to school and student instruction. pic.twitter.com/NWiXaPeFMl
— PHSPrincipal Scanlon (@statelinerphs) November 17, 2020
The district has seen a total of 44 positive cases involving 31 students and 13 staff members. As of Monday, 43 staff and 144 students were required to isolate and quarantine, Troxell said.
“While quarantine is an effective way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, it also presents significant operational challenges for a school district. A single positive case, as you can see from our numbers, can lead to many individuals needing to quarantine. Building administrators must then reassign key personnel on short notice, which can lead to inadequate supervision of students. Further, the quarantining of staff and students as well as the constant daily contact tracing are an imn1ense burden for school districts,” Troxell said.
“I know this is difficult news for some of our community. I am 1naking this tough decision for the protection of all our schools’ populations as the health and safety of our students and staff remains paramount. As I have stated numerous times, I recognize that virtual learning comes with challenges for many students and families. However, I am confident that our dedicated teachers and staff will continue to do everything possible to deliver meaningful instruction for all students,” Troxell said.