Morris District: Ten more from Morristown High test positive for COVID-19

COVID-19. Image by the CDC.
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Ten more people from the Morristown High School community have tested positive for COVID-19, for a total of 20 since in-person instruction was halted last Friday.

“Unfortunately,” added Principal Mark Manning in a message to parents, “41 percent of our high school students are still unvaccinated.”

Contact tracing has indicated “possible in-school exposure” for another 100 members of the school community. They will be required to produce a negative PCR test result for admission when classrooms re-open on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, Manning said.

Manning did not specify if the infected individual were students, staff, or a mix of both.

“In light of the continued increase in positive cases, please be especially vigilant about monitoring your child for COVID-like symptoms,” Manning’s message said.

He re-emphasized the importance of mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing and for those eligible, vaccination.

One silver lining to the school closure: A Morristown student taking classes online at home smelled smoke next door and immediately called 911, possibly saving a neighbor’s life and the house.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I’m sorry you are so frustrated by this. So is….everybody… especially the people with kids in the schools (don’t know your enrollment status) – I have/had three kids in MSD (one a freshman in college now). I’m not sure why it matters who is infected and I’m not sure why it matters if these are breakthrough cases when we are discussing local health officials guidance in school closure. The vaccine – though sounds like you feel the vaccine is not effective -has not even been mandated for students. Anyway, announcing who is infected (staff v. students) and what “kind” of case it is is really not a school’s job to figure out.

    Schools follow the guidelines (I KNOW…they are JUST guidelines minus the executive orders) of state and local entities.

    The vaccine has not been required for school students. The schools have taken information (when provided by me — as a parent), but it was not on the forms parents are required to fill out in August as an optional (since they are not mandated) question. Off their data, as you can see, it does state 41% of high schoolers are still unvaccinated. I’m not sure how they got that number…it is noted on a child’s immunization record if they have an annual physical (kids who play sports, of course, are required to), but proof of physical exams — which would have a child’s proof of immunization (both in my experience in MSD and as I understand it) are not required annually. It would be a great question to ask the school – how they got that number.

    HIPPA laws allow entities to ask staff about vaccine status, but as I am neither an HR expert, public health official or lawyer, I would defer to their expertise to understand how that applies to a minor. NJ (and therefore MSD) are ahead of the curve as when announced in August, NJ (per Gov. Murphy) was only the fourth state to require a vaccine mandate for school staff. So the district has a good read on the staff in terms of who has been vaccinated and who is being tested. While staff is protected by HIPAA, students are protected by both FERPA and HIPAA making these legal privacy questions more complicated (again, not a lawyer, just a educator, administrator and college professor whom it’s clear lots of people distain because of the decisions being made).

    The questions you raise are important and the local health authorities are most likely in a better position to answer them as schools are under strict legal obligations to protecting information about minors. AGAIN, some of that privacy may be lifted due the global health emergency, but that is for someone else, not an educator like me, to weigh in on…

    I wish, as most people do, that everything can get back to normal. Especially the schools as it is affecting our children. But since schools (like most places in America) are subject to requirements and guidelines and are open to legal action, the anger is probably misplaced. Reaching out to state and local entities is the way to go here. Schools are just looking to protect their beloved communities (especially after two staff members have died of COVID) and follow the regulations put UPON them so they do not open themselves up to lawsuits.

    I have such sadness about the anger and hatred placed towards my profession of the past 25 years. I have extreme frustration about the past (nearly) two years as both a parent and an educator, but I try to address the issues through the correct channels and in a way I would want to model for my children.

  2. Why doesn’t the district provide details!?!! Are the infected persons kids, staff or both? Are these folks vaccinated or not? I bet they ARE vaccinated and these are break through cases!! Of course no one wants to disclose that for it proves the shot means nothing! End the madness and learn to live with this. We are going on two years of this insanity! Stop the insanity!

  3. Where is the new superintendent in all this? I hope parents are calling him nonstop to complain. Are any policies posted as to who and why anyone needs a test or why the vast majority of healthy people must stay home? Is any other district in the state currently hiding under their beds?

    Virtual learning and preemptive closures are expressly prohibited. I am aware of no other schools closed like this. Shameful.

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