SOMERVILLE, NJ - Parents of students in the borough's public schools received an inquiry via School Messenger Sunday night asking whether their home was equipped with Wifi access "so that we can plan accordingly for virtual learning days, if needed."

Dr. Tim Teehan, superintendent of schools, will be meeting with other school superintendents from Somerset County Monday to share tentative plans that are being formulated in the event the state Department of Health orders schools closed because of the potential impact of the Coronavirus.

There are now 11 confirmed cases in New Jersey;; five additional cases were announced by the state Department of Health Monday, ranging from an 18-year-old to an 83-year-old. Another 24 potential cases are being studied. None of the confirmed or pending cases involved anyone in Somerset County.

Sign Up for Somerville Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Also on Monday, Princeton University announced that the campus will close effective March 23, informing students and staff to remain home following spring break; all classes and instruction will be conducted online.

The state Department of Education has been holding daily meetings and teleconferences with school administrators statewide for several weeks, weighing options and alternatives.

The text of Teehan's March 6th update to parents, staff and students is below: 

Good Afternoon,

Last night, superintendents across the state received guidance regarding requirements for public
health-related school closures. The stand by the NJ Department of Education has not changed in
that school districts are to simply plan and prepare, which we have been doing.


Part of that preparation includes making plans for what to do if there are recommendations by the
Department of Health or health officer of the jurisdiction for closing schools or cancelling of
events either preemptively or reactively.

If the district were told to close by the authorities,students would still receive an education for the time period through home instruction that may include online instruction or some other means developed by the district to meet the needs of its
students.

The administrative team has been meeting to develop plans if our schools were directed to close.

Countywide, on Monday, administrators from Somerset County will be meeting to share tentative plans. In the meantime, on Sunday evening at 6 pm, we will be sending out a School Messenger asking if your home has Wifi access so that we can plan accordingly for virtual learning days, if needed.

When the message is received, you will be asked to press “1” for “Yes” and “2” for “No”. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
We will continue to keep you updated.

Regards,
Dr. Timothy M. Teehan
Superintendent

On Sunday, New Jersey Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli provided the following update, with six presumed cases of coronavirus and another 15 under investigation in New Jersey:

"As we’ve been saying, this is a rapidly evolving situation and you will see from the numbers I present today that we expect increasing activity daily if not hourly. We now have six individuals presumptively positive for COVID-19. One individual is a 70-year-old male, Bergen County resident from Teaneck. Onset of symptoms approximately February 28th. The individual was admitted to St. Joseph’s Medical Center on March 6th and is in stable condition; however, is in the Intensive Care Unit. At this point, because of the condition of the patient the local Health Department has not been able to do a full interview to determine NJ contacts or potential exposure to COVID-19. So, I do not have that information. The individual is a healthcare worker, and again, that is the extent of the information that I have on this individual. More will be forthcoming when that individual can be interviewed.

"The second person is a 32-year-old male, a Hudson County resident from West New York. Onset of symptoms February 28th. He was admitted to Hackensack University Medical Center in Montclair, New Jersey on March 5th. Again, the interviews have not been completed so we do not have information on potential exposure to COVID-19 or the New Jersey contacts.

"As a follow-up to yesterday’s call, as you know yesterday we had 15 persons under investigation. We were able to complete nine of those tests and two as we’ve reported came back positive, and seven came back negative. At this point we do not have the confirmatory tests from the CDC.

T"o give you an overall picture of what this looks like in New Jersey at this point, we have total tracking of 27 persons under investigation. Of the 27, nine are in Bergen County, one in Camden County, two individuals are in Cumberland County, three individuals in Essex County, two in Hunterdon County, two in Middlesex County, four individuals in Monmouth County, three in Union County and one in Sussex County. So, as you can see, from north to south the coronavirus seems to be spreading."

Also on Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the executive director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has tested positive for coronavirus,

Executive Director Rick Cotton will be quarantined and work from home, according to Cuomo. The Port Authority oversees Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airports in New York City.