WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield High School, which was closed for in-person learning Thursday after five students tested positive for COVID-19, will remain closed Friday, the schools superintendent wrote in an update.

In a letter addressed to the Westfield School Community Thursday, Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan said that the Westfield Regional Health Department is continuing its contact tracing process.

“I know you have questions and concerns. I know this is frustrating, confusing, maddening. I know it may be hard to trust the information when the district, for reasons of privacy, cannot provide specific details,” Dolan wrote. “Please know that decisions about whether or not to close a school for a certain length of time come after extensive conversations with our local health officials who, in turn, conduct extensive contact tracing and who know the right questions to ask to determine what constitutes exposure in a school setting or elsewhere.” 

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On Wednesday, Dolan told the community that the health department had found that a number of the cases occurred outside of school when masks and social distancing protocols were not observed.

“Additionally, health officials determined there was not contact in these instances in the high school where those protocols are observed,” she wrote Wednesday.

Meanwhile, she wrote, the closure would also allow school custodians time to “deep clean, disinfect and sanitize the building.”

“Every day, I receive emails asking when I will allow students to return to five days of in-person instruction, or why I am not closing all of our schools, or why I have chosen to close a school at all,” Dolan wrote Thursday. “Opinions vary widely about what a reasonable course of action might be and I listen to them all. 

“Ultimately, the health and safety of our students and staff is my top priority and I will continue to make the most informed decisions possible based on the latest medical, scientific and educational guidance.”

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