Maurice Hawk School in West Windsor temporarily pivots to virtual instruction due to COVID-19 outbreak

At least 11 students and three staff members at the Maurice Hawk School in West Windsor have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past week, leading officials to switch the school to remote learning only for the week of Sept. 20.

On Monday, Sept. 13, the district was notified of two unrelated COVID-19 positive cases. By the end of day Tuesday, Sept. 14, there were seven additional cases. An additional case was reported on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Another case was reported Thursday, Sept. 16. Two more were reported on Friday, Sept. 17. Another case was reported on Saturday, Sept. 18.

More than 60 Maurice Hawk students deemed closed contacts of COVID-19 positive students and staff members must quarantine due to the outbreak at the school.

“Due to ongoing concerns with COVID positive cases at Maurice Hawk, the district, in conjunction and consultation with the West Windsor Health Department and representatives from the NJ Department of Health has made the decision to temporarily move all students of Maurice Hawk Elementary School to virtual instruction,” West Windsor Plainsboro Superintendent of Schools David Aderhold wrote in a statement. “The temporary move to virtual instruction for Maurice Hawk students is made out of an abundance of caution, but grounded in the knowledge that four of the last five reported cases (reported Sept. 15, 16, 17, and 18) fall outside of any identified contact tracing and substantiate the potential of greater spread within our school community. The district will continue to partner with the health department, to investigate these additional outlying cases.”

Virtual instruction for Maurice Hawk students will begin Monday, Sept. 20, and will last through Friday, Sept. 24.  If an extension of remote learning is warranted, officials anticipate providing a notification to parents by Friday, Sept. 24. Maurice Hawk’s Back to School Nights that were scheduled for Monday, Sept, 20 and Wednesday, Sept. 22 have been postponed. Additionally, one Maurice Hawk classroom was temporarily transitioned to remote instruction effective Sept. 17 and will return to in-person instruction on Sept. 28.

“Our short-term movement to virtual instruction for Maurice Hawk will provide both the district and health department to continue contact tracing, further investigate the COVID outbreak at our elementary school, and thoroughly clean all classrooms and common areas of the building,” Aderhold wrote. “This move to virtual instruction is only for Maurice Hawk Elementary School and does not impact any other WW-P schools.”

On Monday, Maurice Hawk students will be on a 90-minute delay schedule and begin virtual instruction. Half-day a.m. preschool is canceled for Monday, Sept. 20. The student virtual start time will be 10:10 a.m. Officials said the delayed schedule on Monday will provide an opportunity for device distribution, as well as an opportunity to support staff members with the transition to virtual instruction. Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, through Friday, Sept. 24, Maurice Hawk students will attend full-day virtual instruction. Half-day a.m. preschool will resume Sept. 21. 

Maurice Hawk families who would like to receive a meal kit that contains a week’s worth of lunches can register online here. The meal kit will be available for pickup Monday, Sept. 20, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Maurice Hawk. Families are asked to register for the meal kits by 12 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20 so that WW-P Food Services can adequately prepare them.