Great Neck student tests positive for COVID-19; first reported case in school district

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An elementary school student at the John F. Kennedy School in Great Neck tested positive for the coronavirus according to school officials. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

A student at John F. Kennedy Elementary School tested positive for the coronavirus, the first known case in the Great Neck school district, officials announced on Friday.

Information about the student cannot be released due to privacy laws, according to a statement from district Superintendent Teresa Prendergast. Individuals who were not directly notified of the confirmed case can conclude that they or their child was not in close contact with the infected student, Prendergast said.

In accordance with our District protocol at the elementary level, the teacher and students in class with the infected individual have transitioned to remote instruction for a period of 14 calendar days,” Prendergast said.

Families of the classmates of the infected student were directly contacted, but all other classes at the school continued with in-person instruction, according to Prendergast.

Officials said the infected student had “very limited interaction” with students and staff members at the school.  Prendergast touted the cleanliness of the school buildings throughout the district and said each one is cleaned and disinfected every evening, with extra sanitizing of the classrooms, hallways and bathrooms taking place Friday morning.

“It’s important to remember that the health and safety protocols in place in all our buildings — including wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing, and daily cleaning/sanitizing of facilities — were intentionally designed to mitigate the risk to students and staff in the event a positive case was identified,” Prendergast said.

The district continues to work with the Nassau County Department of Health, which requires infected individuals and their household members to quarantine for 14 days.  The school district requires individuals who test positive for the virus to provide a note from a health care professional before returning to the facilities.

Officials said the Health Department will continue to conduct contact tracing for individuals who have been in close contact with the infected student. Close contact is defined by the department as being within six feet of the infected person for a minimum of 10 minutes without a mask or face covering on, according to officials.

“The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority,” Prendergast said. “Thank you for your understanding and ongoing cooperation with our COVID-19 prevention policies and procedures. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide updates as needed.”

Prendergast encouraged all parents to monitor their children’s health on a consistent basis and refer to the coronavirus symptoms list on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

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