The following is a statement issued by school officials:
The health, safety, and welfare of our students, families, and communities are at the forefront of our decision-making as we continue to respond to this current health emergency.
We have had ongoing communication with the New Jersey Departments of Health and Education as well as closely monitored the press conference held yesterday by Governor Murphy on Friday, March 13, in which he declared, “it will be a matter of days before schools close” and that “school closures are inevitable.”
He also indicated that the number of confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) has doubled within the last 24 hours.
In addition, we have contacted and consulted with the Atlantic County Department of Health regarding the effects and impact of COVID-19 in our County and communities.
Even though at this time, there are no confirmed cases in Atlantic County, we are acting with an abundance of caution to address the spread of COVID-19 and to help protect and support our students, families, and communities during this National Emergency.
To this end, the School Districts of Mainland Regional High School, Chartertech High School for the Performing Arts, Northfield, Linwood, and Somers Point are closing for students for 14 calendar days beginning Monday, March 16 until Monday, March 30.
We will continue to monitor the information available and any details that may require a longer closure than currently planned. We will coordinate with our communities throughout the closure and will provide updates and information specific to the firm date for schools reopening. Please be sure to check with your districts’ websites, social media feeds, and community outreach platforms for additional details.
Please rest assured that this decision was not taken lightly, and we understand the impact this has on families, which is why our Districts have come together to issue this joint statement regarding closing our schools.
Students and parents have received and will continue to receive more information about individual district plans for instructional continuity and food distribution for eligible families in our food service programs, as mandated by the NJDOE.
We know that this is a challenging time. We know that there are concerns and anxiety. We also know that our schools are special places. They are special because of the children who enter them each day.
They are special because of the families that send their children to us. They are special because of the staff that works with your children every day.
We care deeply about all of our school communities. Although a difficult decision, it is the best decision for our children, staff, and communities.
Mark Marrone, Brian McGuire, Brian Pruitt, Pedro P. Bretones, Michelle Carney Ray-Yoder