By JOHN T. WARD
A Red Bank Regional High student has a presumed positive case of the COVID-19 coronavirus, becoming the second person on the Greater Red Bank Green directly impacted by the global pandemic.
Still, the pre-kindergarten-to-8th-grade sending districts of Little Silver, Shrewsbury and Red Bank will remain open, even as the high school is on indefinite shutdown, district officials said in a joint statement Wednesday evening.
After meeting with representatives of the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission and Riverview Medical Center, administrators emerged with “no recommendation to close any of the PK-8 sending school districts at this time,” the joint statement said. [See full text below.]
The group includes the primary and middle schools in Red Bank and Little Silver; Red Bank Charter School; and the Shrewsbury School.
The meeting was held, the statement said, to “discuss the newly discovered ‘presumptive positive’ case of COVID-19 at RBR and the proactive plans for our communities moving forward.”
A local official who participated in the meeting but did not wish to be identified confirmed to redbankgreen that the statement referred to a RBR student whose brother is the 27-year-old Little Silver man reported by Monmouth County officials on Monday to be presumed infected by the virus.
The man is believed to have contracted the COVID-19 virus at a pharmaceutical industry meeting in Boston that sickened some 26 attendees late last month. He was last reported to be recovering at home.
No information about the RBR student’s condition was immediately available.
Earlier in the day, Governor Phil Murphy announced eight new presumed-positive coronavirus cases in New Jersey, including two in Monmouth County, with patients ranging in age from 17 to 66. That brings the state’s total of presumptive positives cases to 23 cases, plus one death.
Before the local districts’ joint statement, it was not clear if the 17-year-old referred to by Murphy was the RBR student. The student’s relationship to the Little Silver patient has not been previously reported.
The sending districts’ decision to remain open came after RBR opted to continue its two-day shutdown “until further notice,” as reported by redbankgreen.
It followed a recommendation by the health commission that was based on “based on the situational facts, timing, number of close contacts” and other factors, said the official.
RBR Superintendent Lou Moore said that classes will be conducted online under a virtual school instructional plan beginning Thursday.
Here’s the joint statement:
Dear Parents and Guardians,
This afternoon there was a joint meeting including the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission (MCRHC), personnel from Riverview Medical Center, school personnel from Red Bank Regional, Little Silver, Shrewsbury, Red Bank Borough, and Red Bank Charter as well as town officials, OEM, police, and a legislative representative. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the newly discovered “presumptive positive” case of COVID-19 at RBR and the proactive plans for our communities moving forward.
After consultation with the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission, RBR has closed. However, “there is no recommendation to close any of the PK-8 sending school districts at this time.”
The Monmouth County Regional Health Commission will lead a proactive effort to identify “close contacts” of the “presumed positive” RBR student. We are working in conjunction with the local school districts, the MCRHC, and local hospitals who are working directly with local physicians. We expect to have mitigation discussions on a daily basis.
Limiting the impact of COVID-19 will require a shared response from everyone. We will continue to provide updates and information. Families should continue to consult these resources for information and advice.
As this issue is both uncharted and developing, we will continue to provide information as it becomes available.