ELIZABETH, NJ — The Board of Education was joined by a coronavirus panel with medical and health experts to discuss the district's reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year.

The panel members included Dr. Guillermo Munoz, Dr. Rolando Lozano, Mark Colicchio, Dr. Carlos Remolina, Jose Polanco and Dr. Pedro Cordero. Safety of the students, teachers and staff was a major priority during the meeting. The board looked to the panel to provide their expertise on how the district should move forward.

“How are we going to protect the kids? Wearing masks,” said Dr. Cordero.  “Teach them from day one, from when they’re two, that they have to wear a mask now. That’s the key, wearing a mask.”

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In keeping with Dr. Cordero’s point, Dr. Remolina later added that it is necessary that adults also be educated to wear masks. He spoke about his experience with people who do not believe that masks are necessary. Dr. Remolina explained that if parents know more about the necessity of masks they can pass that knowledge on to their children.

The panel was also asked to address the issue of testing in the community and the effectiveness it has in preventing the transmission of the virus. Mark Colicchio, City of Elizabeth Health Officer, urged families to get the virus test and/or receive the antibody test.

Dr. Lozano pointed out that while testing is important it will not stop the spread of the virus. “The test can be negative and the day after, they start having symptoms [after] having been exposed,” he told the board.

This meeting was just the first step in the Board of Education's process for developing the school reopening plan for the 2020-2021 academic 

The full meeting can be watched on the Elizabeth Public Schools Facebook page.