FRANKLIN, NJ – Franklin Township Public Schools on Friday updated its website to account for additional positive COVID cases, bringing the district's total to 18 as of press time.

Since Oct. 5, 12 staff members have tested positive, including six from Franklin High School, two from the central office; one from Claremont Elementary; two from Franklin Park; and one from MacAfee Road.

READ: COVID-19 Surges; Hillsborough School Buildings to Close Through Dec. 4

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Additionally, there was one positive case involving an outside vendor. There have also been five positive cases involving students, including two from MacAfee Road, one from Claremont, and two from Franklin High School. The breakdown by building is as follows: 

However, school officials told TAPInto that not every positive case has resulted in exposure to other individuals within the buildings. "Not all of them were in a building where they would have exposed other people [therefore] not all of them required us to send a letter to close contacts or to let others that were in the building know that someone in the building tested positive," said Mary Clark, spokesperson for the school district. 

Currently, a limited number of township students are receiving in-person instruction at select district buildings with the district scheduled, as of press time, to reopen its buildings for in-person instruction on Nov. 30.

READ: District to go ahead with in-person schooling as COVID-19 cases rise in town and across state

At this time, a hybrid model will be implemented with students who have opted to return divided into two cohorts – blue and gold – which will attend in-person Monday through Thursday on alternate weeks. When one cohort is in-person, the other group will be virtual. Those who wish to remain remote will continue to learn virtually and Friday's will be fully remote for everyone. 

The Franklin Township Education Association (FTEA), at a board of education meeting Nov, 19, urged the district to reconsider its decision to have students return for in-person instruction the Monday following Thanksgiving, stressing concern over the rise in cases throughout the township and the state. 

During that same meeting, Ardaman Singh, vice president of the Franklin Board of Education, said she's aware of the rising numbers, but has 'great confidence' in the district’s ability to return to school safely.  “We do not know what will happen, but I think as a board member, and as a member of the community, and as a parent who has a child in the school district, I do put forth my confidence in the district administration and the staff,” Singh said. 

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