Jersey City schools to have half-day Wed. to work on ‘full contingency plan’ for coronavirus

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The Jersey City Public Schools will have a half-day on Wednesday, where students will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m., so that staff can work on a “full contingency plan” in the event of a coronavirus outbreak.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“In the event that the daily operations of our school are impacted in such a way that we need to close schools, communication to our families and community will be a priority,” Superintendent of Schools Franklin Walker wrote in a letter sent to students, families, and staff today.

“With regard to the continuation of instruction and providing learning opportunities for students, we are currently developing our full contingency plan. We will have a 12:30 dismissal for students only this Wednesday, March 11, 2020 to initiate plans and coordinate with staff for satellite learning options.”

Walker continues that other early dismissal days may be announced in the near future to allow for continued planning, also noting that the public school are participating in an “enhanced daily cleaning and sanitizing regimen.”

Additionally, he writes that face masks are not an effective preventive measure for the coronavirus, as per the guidelines released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so any student sent to school wearing a fask mask will be assumed to be ill and sent home.

As HCV first reported, the first presumptive positive case of the coronavirus hit Hudson County yesterday when an unidentified 32-year-old West New York man was diagnosed with the disease.

At a press conference earlier today discussing the future of CarePoint Health’s three hospitals, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise said no further information was available on the West New York patient.

However, he did further explain why he signed an executive order declaring the coronavirus a state of emergency on Friday.

“Last week, I signed an emergency order for the county that will allow us to act as quickly as possible when solutions start presenting themselves. We will not have to go through the very slow and grinding bureaucratic and governmental circle in order to get what we need,” DeGise said.

” … We’re ready to go. We’re ready with Hudson County Regional [Health Commission] to deal with it in any way that the experts tell us that we should. We’re just waiting for that to happen.”

When asked if there were any plans or discussions about a countywide coronavirus taske force, DeGise reiterated that the HCRHC is on top of it and are monitoring the situation closely.

“We will definitely reach out to all the partners that we can as a county to try to deal with whatever’s coming. But there’s a lot of nebulous words I just said there, right, now because we just don’t have better ones to fill in.”

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop added that as of two-and-a-half weeks ago, the city has been submitting names of potential coronavirus patients to the state and the CDC and all of those people have tested negative.

“We don’t publicize it when we think we have a potential because we don’t want to alarm people, but there’s certainly a lot of communication happening amongst the elected officials and the hospitals on a daily basis.”

He declined to comment on the BOE’s preparation plans for the coronavirus, deferring comment to Walker on the matter.