14-year-old COVID-19 patient was at Bayonne school on March 12

Superintendent Niesz says the city will contact at-risk persons

John M. Bailey Community Elementary School in Bayonne
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John M. Bailey Community Elementary School in Bayonne

COVID-19 has spread to a student within the Bayonne school district.

The Office of Emergency Management announced on March 25 that three additional residents of the city had tested positive for the virus. One is a 14-year-old girl who is recovering at home.

Shortly afterward, Superintendent of Schools John Niesz released a letter to the community confirming that the girl was a student at John M. Bailey School.

School officials were notified that the eighth grader tested positive for COVID-19. The city Health Office confirmed the case.

According to the Board of Health, the girl was in school on March 12, the last day before schools were closed and virtual learning began. However, the Board of Health said the girl was asymptomatic at the time.

Now the city is beginning efforts to contact at-risk persons. According to Niesz, the Board of Health and or the Board of Education will contact residents who are at high-risk of contracting COVID-19.

Niesz reiterated recommendations from the Board of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that parents contact their local healthcare providers if they or their children are experiencing fevers, coughs, and or shortness of breath.

More students sick?

No further information is being released about the girl due to medical privacy laws. The district will follow Board of Education policy regarding the release of medical information.

As the city looks into the case and reaches out to at-risk individuals, district officials defend Bayonne’s quick response to the virus. According to Niesz, the district was proactive at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the March 24 Board of Education meeting, Niesz received praise from parents and teachers for the district’s response, which included closing schools and shifting to remote instruction through virtual learning.

“I’m proud the district has been proactive and not reactive,” resident Anthony D’Amico said. “Teachers have been amazing in the virtual learning process.”

Niesz closed the schools on March 12, six days before any cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the city.

It appears the strategy to shift to virtual learning will pay off in Bayonne, as the 14-year-old recovers at home. Instead of being in a crowded classroom, she will be in isolation, preventing the further spread of the virus among students.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.