NEWARK – In a message sent to Newark City Schools families Tuesday evening, through its Facebook page, e-mail and phone, the district announced a couple of changes due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Thanksgiving Break will now begin on Monday, Nov. 23, with students returning on Monday, Nov. 30. The last day of school will be this Friday.
John Clem Elementary will also be closed this Thursday and Friday, due to staffing issues related to quarantines.
“This extra time (for Thanksgiving Break) will allow for our classified staff to more deeply clean all buildings and will also give more time for our students, staff and families to rest and recover over the longer break,” superintendent David Lewis said in the district-wide message.
“As cases have increased in the state and county, we have begun to see some of that mirrored in our school district,” Lewis added. “We have not seen evidence of a large spread of COVID-19 in our buildings. We believe that our measures of social distancing, wearing masks and increased cleaning have helped to slow any spread in our buildings. However, due to quarantine procedures and overall community spread, we have begun to face staffing shortages in various schools and areas of our district.”
This is especially true at John Clem Elementary, Lewis said. “Between confirmed positive cases and the quarantines that have come from those cases, we are unable to adequately fill all open positions at the building,” he said. Due to this, John Clem will be closed this Thursday and Friday, and students will have assignments for those days. If John Clem students would like to pick up a lunch this Thursday and Friday, they can come to the front doors of the school from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We hope this time away will allow staff and students to get healthy,” Lewis said. “We encourage you to continue wearing masks and practice social distancing during Thanksgiving Break. Students learn best in-person, and we are doing everything we can to keep students safe and in school at this time.”
The district will continue to monitor staff and student absences, and will use that information to determine if or when individual schools or classrooms might need to shift to online learning. They will also continue to work closely with the health department on those decisions, Lewis said.
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