SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The principal of South Orange Middle School has communicated that someone connected to South Orange Middle School has COVID-19. For privacy, the individual's identity has not been revealed, so it is unknown if the person is a student or staff member, and whether it is known where they might have contracted the virus.

This comes as the South Orange Maplewood School District finished its first week of hybrid learning, with many parents satisfied and many teachers worried. The pandemic shows no signs of slowing — as of yesterday, South Orange has 538 cases and a seven-day average of four cases per day. Essex County's daily case number report includes 56,619 cumulative cases as of today, up 490 from yesterday; only one new COVID-19 death was noted in the county in the past 24 hours.

The following is the text of the letter sent from SOMS to the school community:

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COVID-19 School Notification: Positive Case in School

January 22, 2021

Dear SOMS Community:

This letter is to inform you that an individual at South Orange Middle School has been identified as a Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) case. The District is coordinating closely with public health officials and following Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), state, and local health department guidance in order to assure the health and safety of our community.

Cleaning and disinfecting of all exposed areas has been completed. The school is also taking precautions to prevent the introduction and spread of viruses and other germs and is cleaning frequently touched surfaces daily. The status of this situation is fluid, and we are monitoring it closely.

We understand the level of concern regarding COVID-19. We encourage parents and students to continue following the CDC promoted safeguards, such as:

• Staying home when you are sick;

• Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitizer

• Covering coughs and sneezes and properly disposing of tissues;

• Limiting close contact with people who are sick and not sharing food, drinks and utensils;

• Practicing social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart);

• Wearing a mask while in school; and

• Continuing to monitor your health for symptoms.

As always, we appreciate our community’s support and cooperation. You can assist us by remaining vigilant but sensible in your approach to dealing with this health concern. Should you have any questions about this situation, please feel free to contact the school nurse Keith Turpin, at kturpin@somsd.k12.nj.usor 973-378-2772, ext 2015. 

Below are some resources that might be helpful.


a. NJDOH COVID-19 Information for Communities and the General Public:

b. Get the Facts about Coronavirus:

c. Symptoms of COVID-19:

d. Testing:;

  • Consult your Health Care Provider
  • Consult your local health department [SO (973) 378-7715 x7710 or Maplewood (973) 762-8120 x4400]

e. How to Protect Yourself:

f. What to Do if You Are Sick:


Lynn A Irby, Principal


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