PATERSON, NJ - After three employees tested positive for COVID-19, the Paterson Public School District has closed down a portion of its Central Offices building.

According to Superintendent Eileen F. Shafer, the first case was reported on Oct. 13 by a first-floor employee of the district’s Delaware Avenue headquarters. Three days later, another employee on the first floor tested positive, she said.

In both instances, employees were told to quarantine for 14 days, the entire building was sanitized and notifications were made to the Paterson Health Department, Passaic County Schools Superintendent Melissa Pierce and Paterson School Board President Kenneth Simmons, Shafer said.

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Following the second case, district officials informed all first-floor employees they would need to quarantine until Oct. 29, advised to monitor their health and informed of where they could get a COVID-19 test, she said.

As a result of the testing over the weekend, a third positive case was reported to the district on Monday by a subcontracted employee of the district, Shafer said.

At the recommendation of the Paterson Health Department, all first-floor offices of the Central Office building will remain closed until Oct. 29 and all custodial and security staff has been replaced for the duration of the quarantine period, she said.

Additionally, all Central Office staff was notified Monday of the positive cases during a virtual meeting. That day, a hybrid work schedule went into effect for the entire building, which splits employees into two groups, Shafer said.

“These recent cases among our employees remind us of the importance of being mindful of the trends in the transmission data, which we have been closely monitoring, as well as guarding against the spread with the virus by wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands frequently,” she said. 

“The safety of our staff and students is always the top priority, and we will continue to follow all of the CDC and local public health officials’ guidelines in order to minimize the spread of the virus,” she said.

Last week, the district announced it was extending remote learning for students until Jan. 19, 2021. 

Included in the District’s assessment of the situation was state data that shows there have been 16 confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19 associated with in-school transmission since August, resulting in 58 new cases among students and teachers, the fact that Passaic County ranks third in the state in the number of new cases linked to in-school transmission leading to several area schools to suspend hybrid learning, and a belief that new COVID-19 cases are expected to increase during the winter holiday season. 

As of Tuesday, there are 7,848 confirmed cases in the City of Paterson and 347 virus-related deaths. Within Passaic County, more than 20,000 people have been infected and 1,258 have died.