Some NJ schools planning to close, dismiss early amid coronavirus concerns

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School districts across the state plan to close or have early dismissals so that officials can focus on coronavirus preparations.

Schools in Sayreville and South Brunswick closed early on Monday. In Mount Olive, schools were closed altogether. Mount Olive Superintendent Robert Zywicki said this was done so that teachers could prepare.

“To me, this is just the next step in emergency preparedness, where we now have the ability to continue school,” he says.

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Teachers took the time on Monday to prepare three weeks of assignments in case they have to close due to the virus.

“Plan for some online, but also plan for some old school – so books matter, pen and paper still matters,” Zywicki says.

Teacher Shelia Ross is helping to figure out what three units of 11th grade English will look like in the event of a closure.

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“I’m very glad we can prep now instead of being an emergency situation,” she says. “In another route, we’d lose instruction time and days.”

Some of New Jersey’s colleges are also taking precautions. Princeton University says that starting on March 23, all seminars and lectures will be virtual. In a tweet, the university announced, “We encourage you to stay home after Spring Break. The university will make sure you are able to meet your academic requirements remotely.”

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One parent tells News 12 New Jersey that while she appreciates that the schools are making plans and sanitizing classrooms, she thinks that some people are panicking.

“I think people are a little crazy about it. And I think they should listen to the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], not just what is on the news,” says parent Kristie Walker.

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 Warren Hills Regional School District will be closed on March 11, Cranford Township Public Schools will be closed on March 16.

Dr. Charles C. Pholk Elementary School in Roselle will be closed March 10 and 11. The school will be sanitized because officials believe that a student may have been in contact with someone who has the virus.

State officials say that if schools are closed for an extended period of time, teachers will still get paid. Students who qualify for school lunches would also still get their meals.

Watch News 12 each night this week from 7-7:30 p.m. for a call-in show to answer any of your questions concerning the coronavirus outbreak. Then head to our News 12 New Jersey Facebook page at 7:30 p.m. for a Facebook Live discussion.

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