ELIZABETH, NJ — The autism program at Elizabeth Public Schools has officially decided to transition back into a fully virtual learning for the foreseeable future.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow and the positive testing rate continues to rise, the district decided to make this decision to help stop the spread of the virus. On November 9, 2020, the autism program became the only program to begin returning to in-person instruction.

The original plan was to have students in other special services programs begin to return, as well. While the safety protocols that the Elizabeth Public Schools has put in place have been largely successful according to Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer, the virus’s spread has not been contained outside of school buildings. 

In his latest COVID-19 update, Mayor Chris Bollwage announced that Elizabeth had over 400 new positive cases over the last weekend, and Trinitas Regional Medical Center currently has 50 coronavirus patients. On Saturday New Jersey had over 4,500 positive tests, the single highest number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic.