Fifteen individuals at Montclair High School have tested positive for  COVID-19, according to a notice sent by Superintendent Jonathan Ponds on Tuesday, May 4.
The notice came on the heels of district officials announcing on Tuesday that Montclair High School will once again temporarily require masks for students and staff due to the "uptick in COVID-19 cases."

Universal masking will be required from Wednesday, May 4 through May 13, Ponds said in the notice. He said said the decision had been made on consultation with Montclair Township's health department.

"This means all students and staff members at the high school will need to wear masks during the school day for this 10-day period," Ponds wrote. The district would supply masks for people who forgot theirs, he said.

The district's COVID-19 dashboard, as of Tuesday night, showed 40 coronavirus cases among students district-wide over the previous seven days. It also showed seven cases among students and two among teachers district-wide on Tuesday, but none at the high school.

But in an earlier email to parents, Ponds said that "24 individuals at Montclair High School" had tested positive. It wasn't clear in that message how many were students or staff, or whether they all tested positive Tuesday.

Montclair schools had been off Monday for Eid al-Fitr.

Overall, the district dashboard reflects 701 student and 149 staff cases since the start of the school year, with Montclair High School accounting for more than any other building. But those numbers are incomplete. The district's practices for in-class coronavirus testing have varied over time, with one vendor contract allowed to expire in December and another starting in March. The dashboard also may not reflect all cases found through home testing or other cases found independently of the schools, if not reported to the district.

Masks became optional for students and staff at Montclair schools March 7, the same day New Jersey first allowed schools to set their own masking policies, after requiring them since the return to classes amid the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Phil Murphy said Feb. 7 he’d be ending the mandate in a “huge step back to normalcy.”

A township-set mandate for masks in most indoor spaces, put in place over a winter surge in cases, ended Feb. 28.