3 Long Island school districts report staff cases of coronavirus
Three Long Island school districts are reporting cases of coronavirus just days before the start of school.
District officials say an Islip High School teacher has tested positive for COVID-19. However, all teachers, administrators and clerical employees who were exposed tested negative. The district is scheduled to open as planned on Sept. 9.
Smithtown schools say a staff member at St. James Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. District officials say the individual was last in the building on Aug. 27.
The district is set to reopen next week and close contact tracing has also been initiated.
A staff member at Merrick Avenue Middle School has also tested positive, according to Bellmore-Merrick School District. It says an investigation by Nassau health officials determined that only one other staff member came in close contact with the individual. Merrick schools are set to reopen next Tuesday.
Some people say the positive tests should not stop schools from going forward with their reopening plans.
"A lot of these kids need the schools for support and systems they provide. Likewise, the parents have to go to work and do things as well," said Tim Russell, a parent from Islip.
"We don't know what's going to happen so let's just try it," Sabrina McCann said. McCann is a parent in Bayshore. "You can't do anything else but try it at this point."
Dr. Leanord Krilov, Chairman of Pediatrics and Chief, Pediatric Infectious Disease at NYU Winthop Hospital says it's all a balance.
"The risk is not zero, but we need to balance the risks with the developmental needs of our children, educationally and socially," he said. 'Monitoring works, as we saw with the testing that showed several teachers positive. With close attention to preventative measures, daily screening, testing, and by avoiding those who are sick, we can minimize the risks. . . We may need to pull back if we can't control positive cases appearing, but given the low rate in our area presently, returning to school with appropriate safety measures in place is a viable way to go. I'm comfortable with my own 10-year-old returning to school."