Less than a week into the new school year, the Port Washington school district closed Schreiber High School and Daly Elementary School for the day on Tuesday following confirmed COVID-19 cases at each of the schools.
District Superintendent Michael Hynes said in a statement on the district’s website on Monday that a Schreiber student and a Daly student had tested positive for the virus.
“In accordance with our re-entry plan, the Nassau County Department of Health was immediately contacted to initiate a contact tracing investigation,” Hynes said. “We are following all building sanitizing and cleaning protocols, and out of an abundance of caution, the Schreiber and Daly buildings will be closed Tuesday, Sept. 15.”
A representative from a public relations firm employed by the district would not say whether the cases were from the same household.
In the interim, students and staff will follow a fully remote day of instruction, Hynes said. Both schools had been on hybrid schedules, with parents given the option to have their children on a fully remote schedule.
Later on Tuesday, the district announced that the Department of Health had conducted its contact tracing investigation, but did not say if any other students had tested positive for the virus. The district did say that “students and staff can safely return to Schreiber and Daly tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 16, for their scheduled in-person instruction.”
“Please be assured, the District has followed all building sanitizing and cleaning protocols and looks forward to seeing everyone tomorrow,” Hynes said in the later message.
The confirmed cases are the latest in a wave of news to accompany the reopening of the Port schools, which began two weeks ago with a protest by parents of students at Guggenheim Elementary School, Manorhaven Elementary School, John J. Daly Elementary School, John Philip Sousa Elementary School and South Salem Elementary School.
After learning that their children would not have the option of a five-day in-person schedule for the school year, the parents held a demonstration outside the district offices and sent the administration a petition with over 1,000 signatures claiming that medical evidence supported a return to full-time classes.
Shortly afterward, the district announced that it had restructured the elementary plan so that students would be phased in over the month of September, with full-time classes projected to begin in October.
During the protest, Hynes had said that the choice to not include an option for full-time in-person instruction for elementary schools came after the Port Washington Teachers Association expressed concerns about the faculty’s return.
Efforts to reach the teachers union for comment on the school closings were unavailing.