Sachem North HS reopens to in-person classes after Sweet 16 event leads to uptick in COVID-19 cases
Sachem North High School reopened to in-person classes Wednesday after a Sweet 16 "super spreader" event was held at the Miller Place Inn that got at least 14 students and a teacher sick.
The high school had been closed since Oct. 1, and in a letter to parents, the district had said they found it impossible to reopen in a safe manner.
Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone revealed Tuesday that there were 37 positive COVID-19 cases from the party - 29 from individuals that attended the party, seven were household contacts and one was a close contact of someone who attended the party.
More than 300 people were required to quarantine in connection to the party and eight schools in total had students who saw positive COVID-19 cases from the party.
Bellone says the cluster is a stark reminder that the county is not out of the woods and everyone needs to remain vigilant. The Miller Place Inn was fined $12,000 for violations in connection to the party.
The general manager of the Miller Place Inn told News 12 that they were unaware of the 50-person limit for mass gatherings, saying instead they thought it was 50% capacity like is allowed for indoor dining at restaurants. But Bellone said the Miller Place Inn had been warned.
"The action taken in this case involves a location that had several visits and warnings," he says.
News 12 Long Island has learned some students did not return Wednesday. Parents say this situation is scary enough to keep their kids home for good.
The superintendent of the Sachem schools said in a statement that "students and staff were eager to return to their classrooms and we will continue to follow all health protocols in order to keep our educational community safe."
VIDEO: Watch Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's full news conference regarding the Sweet 16