RIDGEWOOD, NJ – A week that started out with optimism about the long-awaited resumption of in-person learning at all schools throughout the Ridgewood school district on April 19 will end with new COVID-19 cases.
From Tuesday, April 20 through Thursday, April 22, Ridgewood Public Schools reported seven more cases at the high school and two at Willard Elementary School. On the Friday before the reopening (April 16), three cases were reported at the high school and one at Hawes Elementary School. On April 14, there were five other cases recorded at the high school.
In all the recent letters to parents/guardians, Superintendent Thomas A. Gorman wrote:
“All close contacts were identified and notified. If you have not been notified, then your child has not been determined to be a close contact. Please remember if a family member becomes symptomatic or tests positive, please communicate with your school nurse. The district continues to work closely with the Village of Ridgewood Health Department. Decisions are made carefully and in the best interest of the entire community.”
The decision to reopen in-person learning for the entire district was made despite 48 confirmed school-related cases between April 6-8, including 17 from the high school population alone reported on April 7.
At the Board of Education meeting on April 12, Michael Yannone, president of the Ridgewood Education Association, urged the District to pause its Phase II reopening at the middle and high school levels because of the rise in cases at that time.
“To be clear, I am not asking that we close and pivot to remote instruction,” Yannone said. “Instead I am asking that we follow national and state guidance regarding increasing the number of in person students on the middle and high school level.”
For the month of April thus far, the Village of Ridgewood has recorded 101 COVID-19 cases, increasing from 1,265 on April 1 to 1,366 on April 22. One Ridgewood resident has died from COVID-19 this month, bringing the total number of residents who have lost their lives since March 30, 2019 to 43.