Staff shortage leads to New Hyde Park Memorial, Sewanhaka High School beginning 2022 remotely

New Hyde Park Memorial and Sewanhaka High School have spent three days in remote learning since the start of the new year. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

Two schools in the Sewanhaka Central High School District have begun the new year in remote learning due to staff shortages, bringing the number of schools in the district that have recently gone remote to four. 

New Hyde Park Memorial High School and Sewanhaka High School were  in remote learning from Monday to Wednesday, the district said. The district has not said when in-person learning can resume. 

In a statement to the community, the district said, “Due to significant staff shortages resulting from positive cases of Covid-19 and quarantining protocols, New Hyde Park Memorial High School and Sewanhaka High School will continue remote learning for Wednesday, January 5, 2022. Elmont Memorial High School, Floral Park Memorial High School, and H. Frank Carey High School are all open as normal.”

The two schools join Floral Park Memorial High School and H. Frank Carey High School who underwent remote learning in recent weeks before returning on Jan. 3. Due to faculty and staff members who were quarantined at the time, Floral Park Memorial High School and H. Frank Carey High School were having classes via Google Classroom on Dec. 21 and 22 leading up to the holiday break, which ended this week. 

At the district’s last Board of Education meeting on Dec. 21, Superintendent James Grossane said the decision was caused by a staff shortage. 

“This is due to the high number of faculty and staff in quarantine for either being positive, being symptomatic and awaiting results from a PCR or determining to be close contact to someone with COVID-19,” Grossane said. 

Among students, the overwhelming majority of cases are being contracted outside district grounds, he said in December.

“The percentage of students in quarantine for positivity or being in close contact is at 3.5 percent districtwide,” Grossane said. “That equates to 291 students for the five buildings out of 8,400 students in attendance. Contract tracing continues to tell us that 90 percent or more of cases are contracting the virus at events outside the school.” 

According to New York’s COVID-19 report card for schools, New Hyde Park Memorial had 77 students test positive from Dec. 22 to Tuesday. In the same time period, no teachers were reported to have gotten COVID-19. 

For Sewanhaka High School, the state reported 47 new cases among students  in the same time period, with no teachers reporting cases. 

According to the data, the percentage of individuals at New Hyde Park Memorial and Sewanhaka who have tested positive for COVID-19 was 3.37 and 2.42 percent respectively as of Monday. 

In late December, Grossane issued a statement to the district urging everyone to be cautious during the holidays. 

As we continue to deal with an uptick in cases on Long Island, we all must do our part to keep schools open,” Grossane said Dec. 30. “Everyone returning should assume that they have been in the same proximity as someone who is positive for COVID-19. If you participated in any sort of holiday gathering or travel whatsoever, please exercise increased vigilance for signs or symptoms of illness.”

About the author

Brandon Duffy

Brandon Duffy is a New Jersey-based reporter for The Island Now, a position he assumed in July of 2021. He covers news out of Floral Park, New Hyde Park, the Willistons and Mineola, previously reporting on business and elections.
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