Seven coronavirus cases are confirmed among Sparta students

Sparta. Superintendent Patrick McQueeney said all of the cases were among high school students. The district, now all-virtual in its instruction, plans to bring the younger grades back to campus in the coming weeks.

Sparta /
24 Sep 2020 | 06:03

Sparta’s superintendent of schools confirmed Tuesday there are seven cases of coronavirus in the district, which is still teaching an all-virtual curriculum.

All seven cases are among high school students, with no reported positive cases amongst staff members, said Superintendent Patrick McQueeney in an email to the Sparta Independent on Tuesday. “As you know with this virus, that can change quickly,” he said.

The district plans to bring students from the younger grades back to campus in coming weeks, he said.

“We are planning to bring our K-1 students back to in-person learning effective Sept. 29th and our 2-5 students back on October 12th,” McQueeney said. “We are continuing our plans with returning students back to school at this time.”

On Monday he sent a letter to parents and guardians of students in the district with information about the new cases.

“The athletic team(s) and/or individuals that were impacted or are direct contacts of these positive cases are being contacted directly and will be provided guidance from the NJSIAA (New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association) and the NJ Department of Health regarding the need to quarantine and other cautionary measures,” McQueeney’s letter states. “The District is coordinating closely with public health officials and following CDC, state, and local health department guidance in order to assure the health and safety of our community. We understand the level of concern regarding COVID-19.”

He said anyone in the district concerned about potential exposure to the virus should get in touch with their family physician or the following organizations, provided by the Sussex County Department of Health, that offer rapid-response tests:

● URGIMED Urgent Care in Randolph: 973-891-1321

● PM Pediatrics in Pompton Plains: 973-616-5437

● Medemerge in Green Brook: 732-968-8900

“We strongly encourage all of our students and families to limit gathering in large groups, always wear your mask in the presence of others, and maintain appropriate social distancing to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” McQueeney’s letter states. “Engaging in unsafe behaviors that result in the transmission of the virus amongst members of our school community could impact our ability to continue our athletic seasons and endanger a potential return to school. I will continue to provide appropriate updates via our Blackboard notification system only we receive additional reports of positive cases in our school community.”

He invited members of the school community to call school nurse Devon Esposito at 973-729-6191 with questions.

On Thursday, High Point Regional High School announced it would close for 14 days after two unrelated cases of coronavirus were discovered among students. High Point reopened with a hybrid schedule of in-person and virtual classes.

Superintendent Patrick McQueeney sent home the following guidelines that families should follow to stay safe from COVID-19 infection:
Stay home when you are sick
Wash your hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds
Cover coughs and sneezes and properly dispose of tissues
Limit close contact with people who are sick and o not share food, drinks, or utensils
Practice social distancing (stay at least 6 feet apart)
Wear a face covering while in school
Continue to monitor your health for symptoms