While many school districts across the state of New Jersey have voluntarily closed down their schools amid the Covid-19/coronavirus, no district is being mandated to do so, yet.

However, the Berkeley Township School District is taking the chance to be extra precautious and close its doors for a couple of weeks to lower the risk of the virus spreading.

Superintendent of Schools James Roselli issued a letter to parents on Friday afternoon making the announcement.

"Berkeley Township School District has been following the guidance set forth by the New Jersey Department of Health and the New Jersey Department of Education regarding the novel Coronavirus Covid-19. Although there are currently no confirmed cases in Berkeley Township, the virus continues to spread in parts of the state.

As a result of the spread and in an effort to remain proactive to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and community, schools will be closed in our district from March 16th through March 27th. We will then reassess the situation and be in contact with the community. 

During this time, the NJDOE has authorized us to use tele-schooling to provide instructional services to our students. Parents will log-on to the parent portal and click on teacher pages under the menu on the left hand side. Parents can then click on the link for the teacher page to the right of the homeroom teacher's name to find lessons. Paper copies of work were sent home with any students who do not have internet access.

Food pick-up for students will be located at the H&M Potter School at 60 Veeder Lane, Monday through Friday between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm.

All school and district wide events that were planned, such as school plays, will be rescheduled and posted upon our return.

The intent of closing school is to promote social distancing and thereby limit the spread of the coronavirus to our highest risk populations. The highest risk populations are our senior citizens and those with underlying health conditions. Please use this time outside of our school buildings to complete school work and conduct other activities that adhere to guidelines urging us to avoid large gatherings of 250 + people.

Please rely on the information directly disseminated by Berkeley Township School District automated calls/texts and posts on our district Facebook page and websites in order to receive the most up to date and accurate information."

The Berkeley Township School District is the first public school district to shut down in Ocean County following Red Bank Regional High School which was the first in Monmouth County and at the Jersey Shore to do so.

The Diocese of Trenton did shut down 35 Catholic schools on Friday afternoon.

Mark Anthony contributed to this report.

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