It began with a couple of after-prom parties and an extended Jersey Shore weekend. Then came the revelation that a Cresskill High School graduate had tested positive for the coronavirus. As of Tuesday, the number was up to 20, authorities said.
This doesn’t count any possibly infected parents or siblings, Cresskill OEM Coordnator Christopher S. Ulshoefer said Tuesday.
An urgent care center in town has had lines around the block the past few days as word spread of the outbreak, he noted.
Last Tuesday, the graduating senior class had a prom party at Alpine Country Club in Demarest, followed by an after-prom bash at a private residence on the west side of town, Ulshoefer said.
The next day, many headed to the Jersey Shore, where a dozen or so of them had rented a beach house.
On Saturday, one of them alerted his friends that he’d tested positive for COVID.
“The borough is evaluating and analyzing the situation and determining the impact that it will have on the community,” Ulshoefer said.
Some residents have taken to social media – to blame other parents.
“I've had to quarantine for the last 5 days because of your irresponsibility, and I'm not happy. I have followed guidelines to protect your health,” one wrote. “I would have expected the same courtesy.
“They have been working feverishly for months trying to come up with a reopening plan,” she added. “Now that several households with younger kids are affected, I hope they will still be able to move forward.”
“THIS is the reason public schools will not host or sponsor proms right now,” a borough college student wrote, “but some irresponsible parents decided to host one anyway. What do high school kids do after prom? They party. This is all on the parents who planned this prom, as well as the ones who let their homes be used for house parties.”
Cabin fever is understandable, he said.
“My mental health has struggled significantly ever since March and the whole pandemic started. I miss college, my friends, and all the fun work I did at school, living at home doing nothing sure did make me more depressed than I ever have been,” he wrote.
“That being said, this is NO EXCUSE to throw a prom or have house parties. My friends hang out in my back yard 6 feet apart with masks on, or get food and have a picnic a little bit more than 6 feet apart. Using the effects of the pandemic on one’s mind as an excuse to do whatever you want is lazy and irresponsible in my opinion.”
“Could these kids not have gotten together in small groups, outside, with masks and distance?” another resident wrote.
“It’s also on us as parents. Kids do not always act to self-preserve and with the greater good in mind, as it is not yet part of all of their developmental makeup,” the parent added. “We need to set limits.
“We have received so many conflicting messages about safety that it has become a choose what suits you situation, and that is not safe.”
In neighboring Alpine, party-goers packed a backyard Vegas-like bash that spilled into the street at a posh mansion this past weekend, bringing police, an ambulance – and, now, scrutiny from the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.
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