HACKENSACK, N.J. — While the Hackensack Public School District had been gearing up for a November 2 reopening, the district has nixed that plan and will instead continue remote learning until further notice.
In a letter addressed to district staff from Schools Superintendent Robert Sanchez on Thursday, the district will continue to operate remotely effective Friday, October 30 after recommendations from local health officials in conjunction with the state epidemiologist.
The district was set to reopen for hybrid learning on Monday, November 2, in which half the student body would rotate returning to school grounds for in-person and virtual learning on certain days on a cohort, “A/B” schedule. The school district had been prepared with desks spread out the required six-feet apart, hand sanitizing stations installed throughout schools, and tape marked on the hallway floors reminding students to keep the CDC-required six-feet apart.
However, due to a “high positivity rate of infection” of Covid-19 in the City of Hackensack, the district has decided to close its doors, a decision that officials deem is “in the best interest of public health,” Sanchez said in the letter obtained by TAPinto Hackensack.
"The decision to close schools was disappointing as many of our students, parents, and staff were looking forward to in-person instruction," said Sanchez in an email. "Once the spread is contained, we hope to safely open our doors to students."
While he did not estimate when schools would reopen, he said “it is important to note that we will continue to follow our current remote schedule until further notice and any planned schedule changes have been postponed."
All sports and practices are also canceled until further notice.
While Gigi Oates, a sixth-grader at Hackensack Middle School, said she was looking forward to returning to school grounds, safety, she says, is paramount.
"I’m disappointed, but glad precautions are in place so everyone will be safe," she said.
The district’s decision to further delay in-person learning comes on the heels of the closure of Bergen County Academies, which — along with the three other high schools in the region that comprise the Bergen County Technical Schools — were forced to close their doors within one week of reopening on Monday, October 19 for hybrid learning. According to Bergen County Academies School Principal Russell Davis, there were a reported three cases of Covid-19 in the district within the first week of reopening. Some three dozen students and staff were asked to quarantine at home.
Currently, Bergen County continues to lead with the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the region. The current tally is 25,270 cases and 2,062 deaths.