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‘Left in the dark’: Newark schools won’t share COVID data with families and teachers

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‘Left in the dark’: Newark schools won’t share COVID data with families and teachers

School had been in session less than a week when first graders at McKinley Elementary School were sent home. Someone in their classroom had tested positive for COVID.

They were among the first students at their Newark school ordered to quarantine, but they wouldn’t be the last. Since classes started Sept. 7, dozens of students across multiple grade levels have had to quarantine for 10 days at a time, according to parents and staffers.

But rather than inform families, the school appears to have kept that information under wraps. As a result, some families said this week they weren’t aware of any quarantined students or COVID cases at McKinley.

“We’re not allowed to tell other parents about it,” said a McKinley parent whose children in first and fourth grade had to quarantine this month. She declined to give her name for fear of angering administrators. “The first thing they tell you is: Don’t tell anybody, don’t speak to nobody.”

McKinley, whose principal did not respond to email or phone messages, isn’t the only school in Newark with a don’t-tell policy.

The city school district and most charter schools have not publicly released their COVID case counts or quarantine numbers since classes started. Like McKinley, some schools don’t even inform everyone in the building, instead only notifying families and employees about cases in their particular classrooms. Adding to the uncertainty, the Newark school district has yet to launch the weekly COVID testing it planned to offer students this fall.

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  • School Life