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Mahar closes due to rising COVID-19 cases

  • Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 1/14/2022 3:21:21 PM

ORANGE — Ralph C. Mahar Regional School was closed Friday to create the five-day period the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) recommends to safeguard against the omicron variant of COVID-19.

Elizabeth Teahan-Zielinski, superintendent of the Ralph C. Mahar Regional and Union 73 school districts, said pool testing results received for the school on Thursday indicated a 10 to 12 percent positivity rate, which she said is not particularly high. However, she said the positivity rate is resulting in teachers missing work, exacerbating an already strained staffing issue among teachers and substitutes.

Teahan-Zielinski explained students will return Wednesday, as there is no school on weekends, Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Tuesday is a “turnover day,” a day built into the calendar to accommodate academic scheduling.

The missed day will be tacked onto the end of the school year, Teahan-Zielinski said.

“So, essentially, it’s a snow day,” she said, noting that the academic year cannot expand past June 30, which is the end of the fiscal year.

She said omicron is spiking due to family gatherings for the holidays last month.

“We’re letting it run its course,” she said, adding that the majority of Mahar students are vaccinated.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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