NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — In response to the rapidly evolving information regarding the spread of coronavirus COVID-19, the West Essex Regional school district has closed its campus until Sunday and postponed all scheduled activities, including performances of the spring musical, the SAT and the sophomore class Tricky Tray event.

Although neighboring districts such as Caldwell-West Caldwell and Livingston Public Schools have already made the decision to close their schools for an extended period beginning on Monday, the West Essex district continues to monitor the situation and advised the community to “expect communication from the district this weekend” regarding plans for opening school on Monday.

“The health and safety of our students, staff and stakeholders is our number one concern,” said Maryadele Wojtowicz, president of the West Essex Regional Board of Education. “In light of all the recent data on the coronavirus and discussions with health officials, West Essex is being proactive and closing our schools and canceling activities until Sunday, when we will reevaluate the situation. At this time, we feel it is the prudent thing to do.”

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It should be noted that not all four sending districts are following the same schedule as West Essex.

Although Fairfield Public Schools has announced that school will be closed to students on Friday, all North Caldwell, Roseland and Essex Fells schools will remain open.

“North Caldwell is not closing tomorrow, as our teachers have already been trained for online learning and have already created lesson plans should we be directed to close,” said Linda Freda, Superintendent of North Caldwell Schools. “We have added custodians to our night shift so that we can thoroughly disinfect all classrooms and communal surfaces daily as directed by the CDC, and we are continuing to follow all safety guidelines.”

According to Freda, local health officers indicated on Wednesday that it was not necessary to close school at this time, but that the district may be directed to close in the near future.

West Essex Superintendent of Schools Damion Macioci said he believes the decision to close school on Friday is in the community’s best interest “because the information surrounding this pandemic is constantly changing.”

“Please be assured, this campus closure is not due to presumed or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our school district,” he said in a letter to all West Essex families on Thursday. “The school facilities, which have always been sanitary, will continue to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with the same intensity as the past two months.”

As the situation develops, Macioci said the district will continue to monitor information from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), local health departments and other experts.