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Saturday, July 20, 2024

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County Records Back-to-back Days with 14 New COVID-19 Cases

July 19 graph 1.png

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To access the Herald’s local coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage, click here.
COURT HOUSE – July 19: Cape May County reports that 14 new COVID-19 cases were found today, eight community based and six non-residents. Middle Township accounted for the most community-based cases reported today, with five.
According to a release, New Jersey has 176,783 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,732 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 902, including 77 deaths. 
Gov. Phil Murphy and Department of Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet recently announced the release of “The Road Back: Restart and Recovery Plan for Education” to assist schools with reopening in the fall. The guidance announces that, absent a change in public health data, public schools will open for in-person instruction and operations in some capacity at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.
The guidance envisions schools operating within necessary standards to protect the health and safety of students and staff. The guidance includes minimum standards such as following certain social distancing practices in classrooms and face-covering measures for students and staff. The guidance also provides recommendations to assist districts in achieving these standards, such as implementing hybrid learning environments in which students receive both in-person and remote instruction.  
The guidance focuses on four key functional areas: conditions for learning, leadership and planning, policy and funding, and continuity of learning.
The guidance sets the minimum standards for returning to school and serves as a toolkit for schools to use as they develop their recovery plans – recognizing that flexibility is needed as each school will have unique needs and circumstances, and some efforts will need to be guided by local health officials.
The guidance describes several health and safety standards to be prioritized in school reopening:  

  1. Social distancing: Schools and districts must allow for social distancing within the classroom. This can be achieved by ensuring students are seated at least six feet apart. If schools are not able to maintain this physical distance, additional modifications should be considered. These include physical barriers between desks and turning desks to face the same direction (rather than facing each other) or having students sit on only one side of a table and spaced apart.
  2. Face coverings: School staff and visitors are required to wear face coverings unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health or the individual is under two years of age. Students are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings and are required to do so when social distancing cannot be maintained, unless doing so would inhibit the student’s health. It is necessary to acknowledge that enforcing the use of face coverings may be impractical for young children or certain individuals with disabilities.
  3. Limited capacity: It is recommended that students and staff be seated at least six feet apart in class when practicable. When weather allows, windows should be opened to allow for greater air circulation.
  4. Cleaning/disinfecting: Procedures must be implemented by each school district for the sanitization of school buildings and school buses. Increased handwashing measures are also important for students and staff.

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