Schools

NJ School Goes to All-Remote Learning After Post-Thanksgiving COVID Spike

One school had 27 children test positive over a three-day span, a number high enough for the local health department to recommend at least three days of virtual instruction

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A COVID uptick in New Jersey schools has forced some schools to close across the state, but Governor Murphy is not planning to mandate vaccines for kids just yet. NBC New York’s Brian Thompson reports.

One school in New Jersey has been forced to switch to all-remote learning for the time being, after a sharp uptick in COVID cases among students following the Thanksgiving break.

Teachers at Wall Intermediate School were in their classrooms on Wednesday, but the students were not — as 27 children tested positive over a three-day span. The number was high was enough for the local health department to recommend at least three days of virtual instruction, lasting through the end of this week.

The school is hardly alone in their recent COVID struggles, however. Wayne school officials announced earlier in the week that there had been 34 new cases among students, but because they were spread out among multiple schools, none were forced to close.

Anytime kids come back to school in September, October, November — that's when all the respirator illnesses come into play and we deal with year in and year out," said Ocean County Health Director Dan Regenye. "I think it's everything that we've been expecting and seeing, a lot of people coming together and celebrating the holidays."

Vaccinations are still optional for students, and Gov. Phil Murphy made clear on Wednesday he's not anywhere close to requiring them.

"I don't think there's one answer on schools, we have to look at them one at a time," Murphy said. "Nothing is off the tale, but no plans to require the vaccine."

Vaccinations were opened for 5 to 11 year olds earlier in the fall, with rates still fairly low: Just one in five in that age range have even a single dose in New Jersey. Middle and high school students are significantly better, with just over half fully vaccinated statewide.