More than 50 North Shore students test positive in one week, according to state figures

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More than 50 students throughout North Shore public school districts tested positive for the coronavirus over the past week. (Chart by Robert Pelaez)

As of Tuesday, nearly 200 students in public schools across the North Shore had tested positive for the coronavirus since the beginning of the school year, according to state Health Department figures.

A total of 196 students on the North Shore tested positive since the beginning of the school year. By comparison, the total for the North Shore a week earlier was 144. The increase of 52 confirmed student cases is the most in the area over a one-week period since school began.

Public school districts that were analyzed included the Port Washington school district, Roslyn school district, Sewanhaka Central High School District, Mineola school district, East Williston school district, Floral Park-Bellerose school district, Manhasset school district, New Hyde Park-Garden City Park school district, Herricks school district, North Shore school district and the Great Neck school district.

The three school districts with the most cases among students are Great Neck with 38, Sewanhaka with 37 and Port Washington with 30.  Great Neck and Sewanhaka each had an increase of 12 cases in the last week, while Port Washington only increased by two.

With the Great Neck peninsula’s seven-day positivity rate at 4.77 percent, according to state figures, schools in the district are permitted to remain open with 20 percent testing of in-person students and staff within two weeks from Monday. Testing will no longer be required if and when the results are lower than the current 4.77 seven-day positivity rate.

“This situation remains fluid, and I appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation as we work with our health and education partners to develop a plan to meet State requirements. I will share an update when more information is available,” Great Neck School Superintendent Teresa Prendergast said in a statement.

An additional 32 cases were found in North Shore Hebrew Academy (18), North Shore Hebrew Academy High School (9), Silverstein Hebrew Academy (3), and North Shore Hebrew Academy Middle School (2), all located on the Great Neck peninsula.

Efforts to reach representatives from the private schools were unavailing.

Port Washington Superintendent Michael Hynes released a video on his social media platforms last week in response to the heightened amount of coronavirus cases the school district has seen inside and out of the classroom.

“As many of us know, there is a significant increase in COVID-positive cases in our area and that is causing many of us to take notice and wonder why this is happening,” Hynes said. “I believe our students and staff are the safest when they’re within our schools. Over the past several weeks I have implored our school community to make sure our students do not attend large gatherings, to make sure they are masked if they go out, to make sure they are socially distanced, and to not attend sleepovers.”

Despite the increase in numbers, Hynes said he is confident that measures that have been taken in the district’s schools have been effective in combating the spread of the virus and lauded students and staff members for their efforts.

“I can assure you, everything we are doing within our schools is extremely effective,” he said. “Our staff and students are doing such a remarkable job and I’m so proud of their hard work and diligence.”

In Sewanhaka, 27 of the 37 total positive student cases were on-site, while the rest were off-site, according to state figures.

The North Shore school district, with 22, and the Roslyn school district with 20 were the only other districts with 20 or more confirmed student cases. The Mineola, Manhasset and East Williston school districts combined for 37 more total student cases, with Mineola having 16, East Williston having 11, and Manhasset having 10.

Despite being surrounded by areas with a high number of confirmed cases outside of the classroom, schools throughout the Herricks, New Hyde Park-Garden City Park and Floral Park-Bellerose school districts had a combined 12 cases. Herricks and New Hyde Park-Garden City Park each had five cases, while Floral Park-Bellerose had two.

For more information on how school districts and their schools are faring with the coronavirus, visit https://schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov/#/home.

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