Hoboken Public School District to go remote temporarily

Curtailing COVID-19 spread after Thanksgiving

Sections at Hoboken Middle School have been on remote instruction due to COVID-19 exposure.
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Sections at Hoboken Middle School have been on remote instruction due to COVID-19 exposure.

The Hoboken public school district, which has been operating on a hybrid learning model, will shift to all remote learning for the week following Thanksgiving “in an effort to reduce the possibility of COVID-19 transmission after holiday exposure.”

“As we get closer to the Thanksgiving holiday, it has become abundantly clear that travel and large gatherings are not recommended,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christine Johnson in a newsletter to district families. “It has been reported that the safest way to celebrate is with your immediate family or those currently residing in your household.

“Outdoor gatherings have also been recommended, along with reminders for social distancing and mask wearing … In an effort to reduce the possibility of COVID-19 transmission after holiday exposure, the entire Hoboken Public School District will shift to remote learning for the week of Monday, Nov. 30th through Friday, Dec. 4th.”

Students can return to on-site learning on Dec. 7th.

According to Johnson, if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the district is required to create and submit to the Department of Health a contract trace list that identifies individuals who were within six feet for 15 cumulative minutes within a 24-hour period. The DOH will investigate, require self-quarantine when needed, and recommend testing.

If the positive case is symptomatic, the contact tracing goes back 72 hours. If the positive case is asymptomatic, the contact tracing goes back 48 hours, according to the district.

Tracing, testing … turkey?

Because of this process, some district community members, both students and staff, may need to self-quarantine. The number of people on quarantine at any given time can range from one or two people to 20 or more.

“There are times that we can shift one classroom to remote instruction due to self-quarantining,” Johnson said. “Sometimes we need to shift a grade level or school, depending on staffing. Keep in mind that the requirement to self-quarantine is to prevent the potential spread of the virus.”

Currently, Hoboken Middle School’s entire eighth grade is on remote learning as is one section of the sixth grade for this week and the week after due to a positive COVID-19 case.

“We also had a positive COVID-19 case at the high school resulting in the requirement of self-quarantining by a circle of students and two staff members,” Johnson said.

Last month, Wallace Elementary School closed on-site learning for two weeks due to two positive COVID-19 cases.

Hoboken has had 1,197 residents test positive since March, and 31 deaths. Hoboken University Medical Center reported 17 COVID-19- related hospitalizations, which now include six Hoboken residents.

Hudson County reported 413 new positive cases as of Nov. 15 bringing the total of residents who have tested positive since the start of the pandemic to 26,894. In Hudson County,  1,386 people have died due to the virus.

New Jersey reported 18 new deaths and a record high of 4,540 new cases on Nov. 15. The seven-day average of new cases in New Jersey is 3,198, representing an increase of about 50 percent compared to figures from a week ago. It also represents the highest seven-day average since April 28.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.