West Essex halts hybrid schedule due to multiple COVID-19 cases


Alessia Contuzzi

Multiple confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 announced in the first week of hybrid instruction led the West Essex school district to cancel in-person classes and resume online distance learning the week of Oct. 12.

By Ava DiGiacomo, News Editor

During the first week of in-person hybrid instruction, the West Essex Regional School District made a series of sobering announcements alerting families that 11 instances of positive cases were reported in the school district. The district switched back to its full distance-learning instruction plan for the week of Oct. 12 and postponed all in-person extracurricular activities and athletics through Oct. 18.

Superintendent Damion Macioci made his first announcement Oct. 7, when the district informed West Essex families that 3 individuals at the middle school had tested positive. The second announcement was made Oct. 9 when the district informed families that 3 individuals at the high school had tested positive. The last announcement was made on Oct. 11 when the district announced that 5 additional individuals at the high school tested positive.

Macioci, in the district’s Oct. 9 email communication, said West Essex staff has been in the process of contact tracing and was working closely with their public health department in order to ensure everyone that is at risk of being positive will be informed of their need to quarantine themselves. 

“You can assist us by remaining vigilant but sensible in your approach to dealing with this health concern,” Macioci wrote in the email.

The district said in its emails that the plan to move back to full distance learning for the week of Oct. 12 was a move to “allow time for local health officials to gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation impacting the school and perform contact tracing.”