ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury schools will close early Tuesday while teachers are trained in ways to teach students remotely should a COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak force the closure of schools, according to Roxbury Schools Superintendent Loretta Radulic.

In a “Honeywell” message sent to parents, Radulic noted that the state Department of Education (NJDOE) is relaxing prior regulations that did not accept virtual teaching as a substitute for classroom instruction. The DOE issued a statement Friday that discussed this change of heart.

“While the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in New Jersey remains low, the NJDOE has issued guidance to increase flexibility for districts to provide home instruction in the event of mandated public health school closures related to COVID-19,” said the state. “Home instruction may include online instruction or through a contract with a neighboring school district.”

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A 'Virtual Learning Experience'

In her message, Radulic assured Roxbury parents that the district’s administrators “already have a plan in place” should virtual instruction be ordered. “This plan will be shared with and approved by our Board of Education,” she noted.

The superintendent acknowledged the early dismissal is likely to be a hassle for some parents. “I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our Roxbury families, but I believe it is of utmost importance that we ensure success should the need arise to implement a virtual learning experience,” Radulic wrote. “Training on Tuesday will allow us to use the remainder of the week to provide supports where necessary.”

She said an electronic and paper survey will be going home with all students on Monday “to support families that may not have wifi access or devices for K - 2 students.”

The district issued the following early dismissal schedule:

12:18 p.m. for Roxbury High School; 12:35 p.m. for Eisenhower Middle School; 1:17 p.m. for Lincoln Roosevelt Elementary School; 1:40 p.m. for Franklin Elementary School; 1:40 p.m. for Jefferson Elementary School; 1:40 p.m. for Kennedy Elementary School and 1:40 p.m. for Nixon Elementary School.

Countywide Coordination

All 39 Morris County towns, school districts and major healthcare providers are working in coordination with the Morris County Office of Emergency Management and Office of Health Management regarding the Coronavirus, county officials announced last week.

County Officials are working closely with Atlantic Health and Saint Claire's Health to ensure all agencies and organizations have the latest information on how to best deal with the virus, they said.

The Morris County Board of Freeholders is closely monitoring the situation through regular updates and has authorized county funding for needs related to this issue.

“County government, through OEM and the County Office of Health, is working to provide a unified, countywide response to this situation,’’ said Freeholder Director Deborah Smith. “We are coordinating with local health officials and hospitals to ensure they have the information, equipment, supplies and personnel needed to deal with this situation.’’

The following tips were provided by the Morris County Office of Health Management (consistent with CDC recommendations) to protect yourself and others from respiratory infections, including the coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Limit close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Avoid handshakes. Try an elbow bump
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands)
  • Get a flu shot to prevent the flu if you have not done so this season 

Residents are asked to avoid rumors and some less-than-accurate reports about this virus. Don't be alarmed if residents see first responders wearing high levels of protective gear, such as masks, hoods, suits and respirators, said officials. Out of an abundance of caution, they may wear this gear for the safety of the patient and fellow responders, they said.


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