March 22, 2020
Dear Nutley Public Schools’ Community,
Please be advised that the District has learned four staff members, two traveling, one at Washington School and one at Radcliffe School, have tested positive for COVID-19. The staff members are in quarantine at this time. No further information regarding the staff members can be released and we ask that you respect their privacy. The staff members were present in elementary school buildings up to and including Friday, March 13, and with staff only on Monday, March 16, 2020.
The New Jersey Department of Health is instructing local health departments to contact all at-risk parties, who reside in Nutley, to implement a monitoring process that includes an interview for the affected individual(s), to identify locations and persons with whom the affected individual(s) has had contact. Once identified, those people and locations will be notified of the individual’s exposure and symptoms. Employees who reside outside of Nutley will be contacted and go through a similar process with their local health departments.
As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, please contact your health care provider if you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath. More info can be found here.
Please do not call 911 or the Nutley Department of Health with questions about these cases or your exposure. 911 is for life threatening emergencies only. Your building Principal does not have additional information to provide. It is understandable to be anxious about so many unknowns, however your health professionals and first responders are busy trying to keep everyone as healthy as possible. It is expected that the number of positive, confirmed cases will significantly increase in the coming days and weeks as there is more evidence of community spread. Governor Murphy’s Stay at Home order, continued social distancing, and good hygiene are the keys to stopping the virus from becoming even more widespread. By closing school facilities, we have already enacted a practice of socially distancing our staff and students. Our schools remain empty while COVID-19, flu and other viruses, as well as other germs dissipate over time. I reiterate previous communications urging our families to take the need for social distancing seriously, and not congregate with others. This, along with healthy hygiene habits, remain the best tools to slow the spread.
As each day passes, and more people begin to test positive for the virus, it is likely that we will all question our contacts, or know someone who has a friend or family member who has tested positive for COVID-19. According to NJ State Health Commissioner, Judy Persichilli, 85% of cases will be mild or moderate, and we all should continue self-monitoring and reach out to health care professionals if symptoms appear. As many new cases of the virus emerge, health officers will need to shift their focus from prevention and monitoring to an increased concern for those who will need urgent care. Every new confirmed case may not specifically be communicated, and individual follow-up will only happen to the degree possible.
That being said, this is not a time for panic, but it is not the time for business as usual, either. Please follow guidelines for health care precautions, and stay well. Thank you for your continued partnership.