WESTFIELD, NJ — Public school students in Westfield will begin the new year with five days of remote learning.

In a letter to families Friday afternoon, Superintendent Margaret Dolan announced the planned switch to remote education. Dolan cited the success of a two-week pause in in-person instruction after Thanksgiving in keeping COVID-19 out of local schools.

“The two-week pause to in-person instruction after Thanksgiving worked well,” Dolan said. “That pause kept confirmed cases of COVID out of our schools and helped to contain the numbers for the community.”

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The decision, Dolan said, is based on guidance from the director of the Westfield Regional Health Department.

Dolan also noted health officials’ strong advice against traveling for the holiday season. Citing guidance from the regional health department, she said that if families are traveling outside of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware, the district requires students quarantine for 10 days on their return to New Jersey.

The decision comes during a second wave of the virus.

Megan Avallone, director of the Westfield Regional Health Department, has called November, the “worst month yet” for new cases. The department, which oversees eight towns, saw 27% of the cases it has investigated during the first nine months of pandemic in November, Avallone said.

Mayor Shelley Brindle is anticipated to provide an update on COVID-19 cases Friday evening.

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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