Sparta schools go all-virtual until January

Sparta. The rise in new COVID-19 cases that pushed New Jersey into the high-risk category “brings on new challenges for us in working to contact trace,” said Superintendent Patrick McQueeney.

Sparta /
23 Nov 2020 | 04:56

The Sparta Township School District went to remote instruction on Monday, Nov. 23, and will remain primarily remote until Jan. 15, Acting Superintendent Patrick McQueeney announced at last Thursday’s board of education meeting.

The district is expected to reopen for instruction on Jan. 19.

“We know this will be a difficult time for our community,” McQueeney said. “We know everyone will band together as they have before.”

When Gov. Phil Murphy released the newest COVID-19 data, Sussex County moved from yellow (moderate risk) to orange (high risk) when the county registered 34.03 positive cases per 100,000 people.

“That brings on new challenges for us in working to contact trace,” McQueeney said.

McQueeney said in yellow, the district had to contact trace all positive cases, but orange requires districts contact trace any COVID symptom.

“That’s a long list of symptoms,” McQueeney said. “For each one, we would have to contact trace, identify contacts and quarantine them. That would be exponentially high.”

McQueeney said the Department of Health had been concerned about the rising cases in the community with the expectation that the county could go red soon. However, community spread has become such that the Dept. of Health is concerned cases could go into the school.

McQueeney said the district will continue to bring special education and self-contained programs.

According to a letter McQueeney sent home to the public on Thursday, “faculty and staff will continue to work from their classrooms while complying with all required health and safety measures including wearing masks and maintaining appropriate social distancing from others.”

“We are trying to reduce the populations in our buildings to ensure the community spread outside our buildings doesn’t come into our buildings,” McQueeney said.

For interested families, meal pickup will be available on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 until 10:30 a.m. at Sparta High School.

“That’s a long list of symptoms. For each one, we would have to contact trace, identify contacts and quarantine them. That would be exponentially high.” Superintendent Patrick McQueeney