ROXBURY, NJ - Reacting to the COVID-19 outbreak, Roxbury schools will be closed for two weeks, starting Monday, it was announced today.

In a letter to parents, Roxbury Schools Superintendent Loretta Radulic acknowledged that the closure "was a very difficult decision to make as the impact on our community will be great." She also thanked parents for sharing their thoughts and concerns.

"Although I am unaware of any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Roxbury, in review of the guidance from the CDC, Governor (Phil) Murphy’s recommendation to cancel all events statewide with more than 250 people in attendance, and in consultation with our local health officer, Board of Education and others, Roxbury Public Schools will be closed beginning on Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27," wrote the superintendent.

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She said remote, or "virtual" teaching "will commence immediately." Radulic said the districts "virtual learning experience" has been given a name: Flexible Instruction Days (FID). 

In a web and telephone presentation related to the FID program, Roxbury Schools Assistant Superintendent Charles Seipp and instructor Christopher Zegar stressed the need for patience and flexibility by students, parents and teachers.

Shortly after Radulic announced the school closures, township officials announced the suspension of various Roxbury Recreation Department programs. "In addition, modifications to the township's senior citizen programs and the Dial-A-Ride senior transportation program will be implemented," said the township.

It noted that Roxbury Social Services will discontinue accepting clothing and furniture donations but will continue to accept food donations. The township also said that - while all other township services will continue as normal - people should use phone or email to interact with town officials (instead of visiting Town Hall or other department buildings) if possible.

Seipp said there currently are no plans to extend the school year. "These days count to our 180 days at school," he said. He also urged students working from home to get up now and then for exercise and to eat lunch.

"Throughout the past weeks, I have urged you to promote healthy hygiene habits, to obtain your information from reputable sites, and to communicate with building principals," Radulic wrote. "I had sincerely hoped that the need to close our schools and implement our virtual learning experience would not come to pass. Therefore, know that this decision is made due to an abundance of caution and in consultation with authorities."

The schools buildings will be closed to staff and families. During the 2-week period, the buildings will be "thoroughly cleaned," Radulic said.

The closure means there no activities will take place on school grounds including sports and facility usage by outside organizations, Radulic said. "Field trips, competitions and school plays will be rescheduled," said the letter. "The safety and well-being of our students, staff, faculty and the entire school community continues to be at the forefront of our decision-making."

She said parents will be notified by March 26 and told whether an extension of the school closure is necessary.

You can read the superintendent's letter by clicking herepdf.