SPOTSWOOD, NJ - The Spotswood School District will have a half day on Monday, March 16 to allow the staff of all four schools to meet and discuss the plan for online instruction should a closure become necessary. There will not be afternoon CARES on Monday. Spotswood School District Superintendent Graham Peabody sent an email blast to parents on Wednesday evening to alert the families of students.

"As we continue to closely monitor the situation, there is currently no recommendation for school closure," Peabody wrote in the letter. "With that said, however, the Department of Education has asked us to develop a plan should it become necessary for school closure with a specific focus on the idea of online learning."

Peabody went on to explain that if the district is instructed to close by the New Jersey Department of Health, the days the district is not operating will not have to be made up as long as online instruction in made available to students on those days. If Peabody and the Spotswood Board of Education decide to close without a Department of Health directive, the days must be made up at some point in the remaining days of the school year. The superintendent noted that in his 25 years in the Spotswood School District, the current situation with the coronavirus is "unprecedented."

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Several New Jersey school districts, colleges and universities have closed due to concerns over the coronavirus including the South Brunswick School District which closed today. State officials reported that the number of coronavirus cases in the state has risen to 23. The number is up eight from Tuesday when the first death due to COVID-19 was reported Lt. Governor Shelia Oliver. Of the eight new cases, two are in Middlesex County. Two other new cases are in Monmouth County and four are in Bergen County. All eight patients are currently hospitalized and range in ages from 17 to 65 according to published reports. The results of 37 tests are pending. Two of the new coronavirus patients do not have any connection to current sources of infection according to state officials.

Garden State residents can visit the New Jersey Department of Health's website for up-to-date information on the novel coronavirus. The department has also set up a hotline for residents to call. The hotline number is 1-800-222-1222. Residents using out-of-state cell phone numbers are asked to call 1-800-962-1253.