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COVID Impact: Some Parents In Jersey City Keep Children Home From School After District Reports Positive Cases

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The New Jersey health commissioner said Wednesday there have been six COVID-19 outbreaks in schools across the state.

Now, there is an effort underway to get more children vaccinated. CBS2's Meg Baker spoke to concerned parents in Jersey City.

"I didn't send them to school today," Neyda Martinez said.

Martinez said she kept her kids home Wednesday out of anxiety about a COVID case at their school. With a district of 27,000 students, Jersey City currently has five different cases in five different schools -- one staff member and four students -- so it is not considered an outbreak, but there is still concern.

READ MORERelief, Concern Arrive With Parents And Students On First Day Of In-Person Learning At Newark Schools Since March 2020

Zaida Vasquez kept her 4-year-old son, Caden, home, too.

"He's only in pre-K and has one kidney, no immune system," Vasquez said.


Parents said their main worry is a lack of communication. They want to know which grade the case was in.

A letter sent to parents by Superintendent Frank Walker says, "All the individuals, students, and staff that had direct contact with the individual have been identified and notified by the district nurse."

READ MOREPediatric COVID Cases Surging To All-Time Highs As Children Head Back To School

Walker added no in-school transmission has occurred, and all who tested positive are unvaccinated.

"They weren't. In the case of the children, they were certainly under 12, so we know they were not vaccinated," Walker said.

Jersey City will start testing unvaccinated staff members Thursday.


State Health Commissioner Dr. Judy Persichilli said there are six outbreaks in the state that have shut down schools -- two in Atlantic County, and one each in Cumberland, Monmouth, Morris and Union counties. She said an outbreak is defined as, "three cases that epidemiologically connected, and are not from the same household or have otherwise another connection."

"Schools in most cases have been in session, back in session, for a limited amount of time, so that we don't know the full story yet of how school reopening is going. We will obviously give you that data as we get it," Gov. Phil Murphy said.

Health officials said the key to containing the spread is early identification and advise to keep your child home if they are sick, and get tested.

Health officials also encouraging parents to get their kids 12 and older vaccinated. Jersey City is offering free vaccines for students at schools.

CBS2's Meg Baker contributed to this report.

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