CHATHAM, NJ - The Borough of Chatham Council brought in its health officer Megan Avallone to talk about the latest outbreak of the Coronavirus among Chatham High students at its virtual meeting on Monday night.
According to Chatham Borough Mayor Thaddeus Kobylarz and Avallone, between 12 and 16 Chatham High students have been confirmed with contracting the Coronavirus and are currently being quarantined. The infections have been traced to a back-to-school party held on Sept. 6.
As a result, Chatham High School is conducting all-virtual instruction through Sept. 29.
Avallone said that because parents and the school district were proactive, the school environment remains safe. But siblings and family members of those infected need to remain quarantined as well. Avallone said there are no reported infections from students or teachers attending any Chatham school at this time.
"The school is safe," Avallone said. "The exposures did not take place in school and no transmission took place in school."
Avallone (see video below) noted that the symptoms are not as severe as they were at the height of the pandemic in the spring. Headaches and body aches are among the symptoms reported by the infected students. Kobylarz said the age of those infected ranged from 15 to 20.
In his Mayor's Report, Kobylarz said he was "deeply troubled" by the party that led to the infections in his remarks below.
In response to the latest outbreak, Chatham Borough plans to increase signage around town to "Mask Up" and social distance, and will be stenciling such messages in sidewalks and pavement. Mayor Kobylarz also said the police department is asking for volunteers to become "Covid Ambassadors" in handing out masks and wearing shirts with reminders to "Mask up" in their walks about town.
"We don't want to have a police state, but we need to send a message," Chatham Borough Police Chief Brian Gibbons said. "We want to give gentle reminders."
Council member Carolyn Dempsey said her entire family recovered from Coronavirus and warned that everyone should take it seriously because it affects people differently. One of her children still hasn't recovered his sense of taste.