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Gov. Murphy orders all schools closed by Wednesday
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Gov. Murphy orders all schools closed by Wednesday

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Send school-related closings, cancellations and postponements to newstips@pressofac.com.

TRENTON — All schools, public, parochial and private, as well as colleges must close to the public by Wednesday for at least two weeks to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy announced in a second press conference Monday.

Murphy said that the closure will be for at least two weeks or until health officials deem it safe to return. 

"We don’t know when that will be," Murphy said. "We will not tie ourselves to an arbitrary date."

He said that the decision wasn't made lightly. 

"We will not put students, educators and staff, and their families at risk. We will do this the right way, the responsible way," Murphy said.

Many colleges and public and private elementary and secondary schools in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Southern Ocean counties have already made closure announcements over the weekend.

Schools have put in place plans to continue education online or through hand-outs in order to meet the requirements of the Department of Education to count toward the 180 mandatory school days per year. Those plans include meal distribution for students who receive free and reduced price lunches. Plans are available on each district's respective school website.

Murphy said day care centers are not being mandated to close. 

For a complete list of school closures, visit the state Department of Education website.

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DIOCESE OF CAMDEN

All schools in the Diocese of Camden — including Wildwood Catholic, Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, St. Joseph High School in Hammonton, Our Lady Star of the Sea School in Atlantic City, Bishop McHugh Catholic School in Cape May Court House, etc. — will close effective Monday for at least two weeks, the diocese announced Saturday.

“Principals and faculty of each Catholic school have prepared extensive plans for remote learning to ensure the continuation of education for as long as schools are closed. These plans will immediately be put into action by our principals who will communicate them to parents and students. Each day that students complete their lessons via remote learning during this school closure will count towards the required 180 days of school. It is hoped that this closure will not force an extension of the school year,” Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan said in a statement.

ATLANTIC COUNTY

• The Absecon School District will operate on a half-day schedule for all students with the day concluding at 12:40 p.m.; all after-school activities including PALS will be canceled. The school also announced that it will implement our Health-Related Closure Preparedness Plan starting Tuesday.

• The Atlantic City School District is advising all staff and students to report Monday for a full day “due to the rapidly evolving circumstances of the coronavirus.”

• ACIT will be closed starting Tuesday, March 17, and instructors will stay in touch with students using email, Google Classroom and Google Hangouts, said Atlantic County Vocational School District Superintendent Philip Guenther. The Atlantic County Institute of Technology has canceled all field trips and after-school events and ceremonies where a large audience is expected.

• Atlantic Christian School will be closing for grades K-12 effective Tuesday, March 17 through March 31, 2020. Atlantic Christian's Early Education Center will remain open with modified hours of 8 a.m.–5 p.m., with new hours that will begin on Tuesday, March 17. On Monday, March 16, ACS will be open for regular school hours. K-12 students will receive instruction from their teachers on their remote learning plans. All sports, practices, and school events are also cancelled through March 31, 2020. At a later time it may be necessary to extend closure beyond March 31 as more information and data is obtained in order to make that decision.

• All Egg Harbor City public schools will be closed starting Monday. The closure will continue at least through Friday, April 17, the end of Spring Break, according to a letter Superintendent Adrienne Shulby sent to families on Sunday. Students were sent home with packets containing two weeks of instructional materials and should look for updates regarding further materials.

Nurses will be in touch Monday, March 16, with students who have medication at school so arrangements can be made to pick it up. Students who get free or reduced price lunch will still be able to get it during the closure. They can pick breakfast up at the Community School from 8 to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. They should wait outside of the cafeteria to pick up the meals, Shulby said.

• All Egg Harbor Township schools will close beginning Tuesday. Schools will be open Monday for students to receive instructions for online learning from their respective teachers, paper packet reviews, information about communicating with teachers while closed and for students to retrieve their books and personal belongings they may have left at school over the weekend. The district will evaluate whether to return to school March 31. Egg Harbor Township High School has postponed its production of “Les Miserables” until May 1-3. All after-school activities have been postponed or canceled.

• Brigantine public schools will be closed starting Tuesday, March 17, and stretching at least until April 20, according to Superintendent Glenn Robbins. Students are "strongly encouraged" to attend school on Monday, Robbins said in a letter to parents, as they will be provided with additional guidance and reassurance about the closure. Only essential personnel will be allowed into the school starting Tuesday. Grades K through 2nd will be working off paper packets which they received on Friday and grades 3rd through 8th will work on online applications that they've used throughout the school year. Staff will prepare meals for eligible students throughout the closure, and specifics about meals will be available to students and parents on Monday, Robbins said.

• Galloway Township public schools will be closed from Tuesday, March 17, through April 20. Students and staff should report on Monday, March 16. Galloway Township School District’s sixth grade dance Friday is canceled.

• Absegami, Cedar Creek and Oakcrest high schools will close starting Tuesday, March 17, according to a letter to families from Superintendent John Keenan. The closure will last until April 20, when the school returns from Spring Break, but could be updated at any time, Keenan said. More information on online, remote learning is forthcoming. Breakfast and lunch is available to all students to pick-up throughout the closure. They can pick up. their meals between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. starting Tuesday in the lobby of each school, and the rear Commons for Cedar Creek High School. 

The Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District has canceled or postponed all field trips for the remainder of the year.

All athletics and activities are suspended through March. All community use of schools is canceled. A half day Friday is planned for students with a noon dismissal as the staff prepares to transition to online instruction.

• Hamilton Township Public Schools will hold half-day sessions Monday and Tuesday for “staff training, articulation and professional development related to online homebound instruction for students,” the district said in a statement Friday.

• Hammonton schools will have an early dismissal Monday for students to collect materials. Schools will be closed beginning Tuesday for a minimum of two weeks, possibly until April 20, Superintendent Robin Chieco said. Teachers have developed lessons to be completed while school is not in session. Those lessons can be found on the staff directory for each school with a link to “Home Instruction-Assignment.”

The most efficient means of contacting a staff member will be through email while schools are closed. A letter will be posted on the district website and sent home Monday. The situation will be reviewed every two weeks.

• Holy Spirit High School in Absecon will be closed for a minimum of two weeks starting Monday. The school will send a remote learning plan to families Saturday, and “it is hoped that this closure will not force an extension of the school year,” the school said.

The school also has canceled all sports and activities for the foreseeable future and has postponed its production of “Guys and Dolls.”

• Mainland Regional, Chartertech High School for the Performing Arts, Northfield, Linwood and Somers Point school districts are closed until March 30.

Mainland has postponed the spring musical, “Mama Mia,” until April 30, with additional shows set for May 1 and 2.

• Margate public schools will close on Tuesday, March 17, and return on Monday, April 20.

• Pleasantville public schools will be closed from Monday, March 16 until March 30, said Interim Superintendent Dennis Anderson. Starting Tuesday, March 17, food packages will be available at every school in the district to be picked up and taken home from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. 

The Pleasantville School District is postponing all planned field trips indefinitely.

• St. Joseph High School in Hammonton will be closed Monday to March 27, the school said Saturday. Distance learning will be activated Tuesday.

• St. Augustine Prep and Our Lady of Mercy Academy have suspended all on-campus activities until March 30.

• Ventnor public schools will close on Tuesday, March 17, until the end of their Spring Break, Monday, April 20.

• Weymouth Township School will be close starting Tuesday with a projected reopening on March 31. All extracurricular activities are canceled.

CAPE MAY COUNTY

• All Cape May County public schools will be closed starting Tuesday, March 17, according to a letter from Ocean City School District Superintendent Kathleen Taylor.

• Margaret Mace School in North Wildwood has postponed sporting events and large after school events until further notice.

• Middle Township High School scrimmages are canceled through March 31.

CUMBERLAND COUNTY

• Cumberland Regional High School will be closed starting Tuesday, March 17, according to the school's Twitter page. The closure is tentatively expect to last through April 15. "Instruction & support services including student meals will continue remotely during this closure," a tweet from the school reads. 

Cumberland Regional High School’s spring musical, “The Little Mermaid,” has been postponed.

• Millville High School has postponed Millville’s Got Talent until further notice.

• Vineland Public Schools will hold a full day of classes Monday. Tuesday through Friday will be half days to allow teachers and students time to prepare for online learning, the district said in an online message.

Vineland High School’s production of “James and the Giant Peach” has been postponed until further notice.

• Upper Deerfield Township’s Woodruff Middle School has canceled Career Day on March 27.

• All Cumberland County schools have restricted out-of-state or out-of-country field trips.

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OCEAN COUNTY

• Pinelands Regional High School will be closed until March 27, the Pinelands Regional School District announced Saturday.

The district will maintain communication with families though Blackboard, Facebook, Oncourse and district websites. Students will participate in distance learning activities prepared by the teachers. Bagged meals will be available for pickup between 10:30 a.m. and noon in the front foyer of the school.

Board meetings will be held as scheduled. Board members will have the option to participate remotely, and the meetings will be streamed live to the public.

• Stafford Township school buildings will be closed to all students starting Monday through March 30, the school district said Saturday.

All students received a packet of learning materials to complete at home. If your child was absent or did not receive a packet, it will be available for pickup 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday at the McKinley Avenue Elementary School cafeteria side entrance.

Meals will be available for pickup 10 a.m. to noon at the cafeteria side entrance for students who qualify for free or reduced-fee meals.

STOCKTON UNIVERSITY

Stockton has extended its spring break until March 24. When students return, all classes will be held online and the campus will remain open. Stockton has canceled the following events:

March 15: Lines on the Pines at the Galloway campus

March 22: Bay Atlantic Symphony at the Performing Arts Center

March 24: Cape Atlantic Regional College Fair

March 27: The Byrne Brothers at the Performing Arts Center

March 28: Pirates of Penzance at the Performing Arts Center

April 2: Stockton Chamber Players at the Performing Arts Center

April 3: Think Pink Floyd at the Performing Arts Center

All spring break athletic field trips

ROWAN UNIVERSITY

Rowan has extended its spring until March 30. When classes resume, all in-person instruction will move online for the remainder of the semester.

All NCAA activities have been canceled through the end of the semester, as have many intercollegiate programs nationally. Student-athletes will return from their spring break trips shortly.

The university will remain open to accommodate students who choose to remain on campus and need dining and other resources or support for their educational needs.

The medical schools’ coursework will transition to online platforms. Experiential learning and rotations will continue.

On-campus events are strongly discouraged. Everyone should make alternate plans for off-campus meetings and other events, participating online or using other remote means.

ATLANTIC CAPE COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Atlantic Cape Community College has extended its spring break through March 30. All classes will be taught online when they resume.

The college will remain open, but there will be no face-to-face classes.

Students who want to use support services such as advising or tutoring in the libraries at all three campuses will be able to do so.

Students will have access to the library at the Mays Landing, Atlantic City and Cape May County campuses. The libraries are available to students only, with proper student identification.

There are no team sports this spring season.

The game rooms are closed until further notice.

Events will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they should be canceled.

ROWAN COLLEGE OF SOUTH JERSEY — CUMBERLAND CAMPUS

After spring break March 28, Rowan College of South Jersey will transition all face-to-face and hybrid courses to online for the remainder of the spring semester.

Courses that meet online only will continue to meet as scheduled through the additional spring break week, March 23–27.

The college will remain open for all services including tutoring and advisement; however, the college is already scheduled to be closed Thursday and Friday.

Students are welcome to use resources such as computers, printers and Wi-Fi in the college’s open computer labs and libraries.

The Radio, Television & Film and Computer Graphic Arts labs will remain accessible as open computer labs for students enrolled in CGA and RTF courses.

More information is available at rcsj.edu/coronavirus.

OCEAN COUNTY COLLEGE

Beginning Monday and continuing through March 29, Ocean County College will move to virtual instruction and primarily remote business practices. The college will remain open during this time. Students are on spring break through March 22.

All face-to-face classes are canceled from March 23 through 29 and will instead move to online instruction. Some face-to-face classes cannot easily be moved to an online format. Alternate arrangements will be provided by instructors for those classes.

All online classes will continue as usual following spring break.

The OCC Library will be closed, but remote access remains available.

Continuing education classes are postponed or may continue by way of distance learning. All continuing education students should contact their instructor for specific details regarding CPE meeting times.

All events scheduled to take place through March 29 will be canceled or rescheduled, including theater productions, planetarium shows, outside rentals, employee meetings, student events and trustee meetings.

Canteen Food Service will be closed.

The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts has canceled or rescheduled the following events:

Artrageous, originally scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed to Aug. 6 at 7 p.m.

Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon featuring Lucia Jackson, originally scheduled for March 22, has been canceled.

Both performances of “Assisted Living: The Musical,” scheduled for March 28, have been rescheduled for 2 and 7:30 p.m. June 27.

The Congregation B’Nai Israel presents The Maccabeats event scheduled for March 29 has been canceled.

“National Geographic Live – Capturing the Impossible,” originally scheduled for April 2, has been rescheduled for Sept. 24 at the same time.

“The Amazing Max,” originally scheduled for April 4, has been rescheduled for May 25 at 7 p.m.

— Claire Lowe and Ahmad Austin

Contact: 609-272-7251

CLowe@pressofac.com

Twitter @clairelowe

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Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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