Two letters written to parents and guardians on the Myron L. Powell Elementary School website tell the story of an elementary school struggling to get a handle on an increasing number of students and staff with positive Covid-19 test results.

The school, in tiny Cedarville, Lawrence Township, Cumberland County, has an enrollment of a little less than 500 students in grades 1st through 12th.

The first letter, written on Sept. 15, tells parents that the school will be closed for the next two days and learning will be remote because of "a sizable staff shortage due to quarantines after having been a close contact and a high number of student absences due to COVID-like symptoms. We have confirmed positive cases among our students and staff AND are waiting for multiple test results."

The second letter, posted to the website on Sept. 22, informs parents that the school will be closed for the next 19 days because of 16 confirmed positive Covid cases among students and staff, as the school waited for still more test results.

The Myron Powell School is scheduled to be closed until Monday, Oct. 11.

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The letter says the Cumberland County Health Department recommended the closure because the county has NJ's highest case rate; a low vaccination rate despite having a high number of vaccination sites; and a delay of five days or longer to get test results, making it difficult to trace and quarantine students and staff.

This school's problem with Covid outbreaks serves as a warning to all South Jersey schools, especially elementary schools where none of the students have been vaccinated.

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