WESTFIELD, NJ — Five students at Westfield High School have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the school to close its building for in-person instruction Thursday as health officials trace the virus, the district’s superintendent said.

In a message to the school community Wednesday, Superintendent Margaret Dolan said that the school would be closed for in-person instruction for at least one day.

“The Westfield Regional Health Department determined that a number of these cases occurred outside of school when masks and social distancing protocols were not observed,” Dolan wrote. “Additionally, health officials determined there was not contact in these instances in the high school where those protocols are observed.”

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Dolan said she feels the district must close the high school for in-person instruction Thursday to give health officials time to finish their investigation. “Once completed, health officials will be better able to provide guidance on when Westfield High School can resume in-person instruction,” she stated.

The closure will also allow school custodians time to “deep clean, disinfect and sanitize the building,” Dolan wrote.

Health officials will be reaching out to individuals who have been within six feet of a person with coronavirus for at least 10 consecutive minutes, she wrote.

“Please be sure to answer the telephone if the health department contacts you and please keep your child home if he/she is not feeling well or may have been exposed,” Dolan stated.

Mayor Shelley Brindle had reported Tuesday evening that the town saw 11 new cases of coronavirus within the past four days, positive test results that come amid a statewide rise in the virus’ transmission.

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh