“Emergency Virtual Instruction Plan” Helps WHS Plan for the Worst


Michael Thomas

Signage continues to remind WHS students to follow proper COVID-19 protocol.

Michael Thomas, Editor

Woodbridge students continue to face scholastic challenges brought from SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) mitigation measures. To prepare for such challenges (like virtual learning), Woodbridges BOE made the “Emergency Virtual Instruction Plan.”

Approved by the board October 21st, it sets conditions for when students, staff members, a school, or the entire school district has to quarantine or shutdown due to exposure, a positive test, or multiple cases of COVID-19.

On an individual scale, students who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 (such as headaches and a loss of taste and or smell), have close contact with somebody who tested positive with COVID-19, travel and aren’t fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or recently haven’t had COVID-19 must quarantine alongside those who test positive for COVID-19.

Updated guidelines from the district supervisor of COVID-19 build upon quarantining guidelines from the Instruction Plan.

It states that unvaccinated students who come in close contact with someone positive with COVID-19 must quarantine for at least several days, with the potential to end it with a negative PCR test between days five and seven of the quarantine or ten days without testing, along as no symptoms arise.

For vaccinated and recently ill domestic and international travelers, no quarantine is needed, while their unvaccinated counterparts need to quarantine for seven days and get tested three to five days after the return.

These same rulings apply to staff members.

Students who have to quarantine for one of the above reasons will be provided a form of virtual learning. The teacher will make a Google Meet for the student(s) to join, where they will have access to classwork, a teacher’s lesson (if there is one), and be able to ask teachers questions regarding classwork.

However, this method of schooling is different from previous school years’ version of virtual learning, as teachers will not prioritize virtual students on the same level as those in person.

If cases of COVID-19 are high throughout a school or the entirety of the Woodbridge School District, the school(s) or district temporarily or permanently can return to virtual or remote learning to ensure 180 days of the school year.

The prospect of a district-wide shutdown has become more conceivable over the past weeks with the emergence of the Omicron COVID variant, which early studies indicate it as the most contagious COVID variant thus far in the pandemic.

In what experts are calling the early stages of an Omicron/holiday-fueled wave of COVID, WHS is seeing a high number of students quarantined with either close contact or positive tests.

America at large has also seen a rapid uptick in COVID cases, and while vaccines are effective in fighting Omicron, they work best with booster shots, though, only around 18% of Americans are boosted and around 61% are fully vaccinated as of December 18th.

While only time will tell whether WHS will return to virtual/hybrid learning, the odds seem bleak.

To read the Emergency Virtual Instruction Plan in full, see the Woodbridge Township School District webpage on the matter.