Hauppauge schools plan to go remote after Thanksgiving due to expected COVID-19 spike
Some Long Island school districts are already planning to switch to remote learning with an expected increase in COVID-19 cases after the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Hauppauge School District has had in-person classes five days a week for the entire school year. However, the district will switch to an all-remote model next week because it anticipates a possible spike in COVID-19 cases because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Hauppauge School District Superintendent Dennis O'Hara says the precautionary one-week break from in-person classes will let the virus' normal incubation period pass so kids can stay out of school if they develop symptoms.
The district had one student test positive on Wednesday, which means more than 70 people will now have to quarantine. O'Hara says a Thanksgiving surge could cause even more damage.
"If we have five cases, 10 cases, 15, 20 cases, as a result of Thanksgiving celebrations, it could cause a longer-term shutdown and a bigger disruption," says the superintendent.
According to Suffolk County data, Hauppauge has had just over 600 coronavirus cases, which is about 3% of the community's total population. Hauppauge is not currently in a cluster zone.
Port Washington isn't either, but it has seen a recent spike in cases. However, Port Washington School Superintendent Michael Hynes says schools will remain open next week.
"We will do everything we can to keep our kids in school. So right now, it's all systems go," Hynes says.
Dr. Sharon Nachman at Stony Brook University Hospital says going remote for a week could help slow the holiday spread, but she also says schools are not where most people are getting sick.
“It's important to understand there's no perfect answer," she says. "Looking at the transmission in schools, it's about 0.1%. Transmission in schools is really not where the money is. It's really in households and other gatherings."
Some parents told News 12 they support shutting down the schools for a week despite any inconvenience it might cause.
"I think that's a great idea and I was thinking along those lines myself, because there are going to be gatherings, more people together, and it's a great idea. I feel safe and secure in it,” says parent Jeannette Forster, of Hauppauge.
The Central Islip School District will also have remote learning the week after Thanksgiving to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.