Two West Milford Public Schools staff members are currently under a voluntary 14-day quarantine after recently socializing with a friend who teaches in New York State, the district informed parents in a letter Tuesday.
According to Superintendent of Schools Alex Anemone, the staff members’ friend works at a school in Rockland County that had five students who were quarantined for exposure to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
Rockland County had six positive cases of the virus as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the New York State Department of Health.
The West Milford staff members – who Anemone briefly identified as teachers – work at Macopin Middle School and Marshall Hill Elementary School, he said.
First detected in humans in Wuhan, China in December 2019, COVID-19 ("coronavirus disease 2019") is the respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus, the New Jersey state health department said.
Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath and are believed to occur 2-14 days after exposure, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“While we have no reason to believe that our staff members have contracted the virus, we wish to err on the side of caution as we are always concerned about student health and wellness,” Anemone said in the letter. “Accordingly, we have asked the staff members not to report to school and remain at home for a period of 14 calendar days.”
Neither staff member is showing symptoms, Anemone said, and they will be able to return to school if not symptomatic after that period.
“This is all precautionary,” Anemone said, speaking after Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting. “Their friend from New York State was also not symptomatic.”
Anemone closed the letter by inviting parents to call his office with any questions.
In a Facebook post to the West Milford residents open discussions group, Diego Romero said he did just that and did not receive answers.
“I contacted them as I had questions and they were very vague,” he said.
Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency on Monday and reported New Jersey’s first death from COVID-19 Tuesday afternoon on Twitter.
“We are sad to report the first death in a case of COVID-19 in New Jersey,” Murphy said. “Our prayers are with the family during this difficult time. We remain vigilant to doing all we can — across all levels of government — to protect the people of New Jersey.”
The individual was a man in his 60s from Bergen County, according to the governor’s office.