By Dan Koob

MULLICA HILL, N.J. (CBS) — Teachers in one South Jersey school district are scared after a dozen COVID-19 cases and nearly 100 students quarantined. They’re wanting to know why they’re still teaching in the classroom.

A letter sent to the Gloucester County Board of Health went unanswered until Wednesday night.

“We think it’s a really unsafe environment, especially as the numbers continue to rise,” Paul Sommers, a counselor at Clearview High School and the teachers union representative, said.

According to the school district, 25 students and staff have tested positive for COVID-19, including 12 in the last week. Still, the Clearview High School remains open.

“Teachers are very scared,” Sommers said. “They come into work, many fully dressed in scrubs, full face shield.”

Eyewitness News reached out to the school district to no avail. Sommers wrote a letter to the district and Gloucester Department of Health on Monday.

The health department responded on Wednesday night, saying in a statement, “The confirmed cases at Clearview High School District have been investigated and contact traced and at this time are not epidemiologically linked to the school. As a result, there is no outbreak.”

The letter continues to say the department has been in close contact with the school.

It was a sobering response in Sommers’ eyes. He says time is ticking to close the school’s doors.

“We’ll make every effort to continue to do the best we can,” Sommers said, “but if the numbers continue to rise, what’s that number? If 12’s not the number, is 25 the number? Does someone have to die? What’s the answer?”

Sommers has responded to the health department’s letter, saying they’re disappointed and just because these transmissions may have happened outside of school walls, it doesn’t mean the people inside aren’t affected. For now, though, the school remains open.

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