Long Island school goes remote after party-fueled COVID outbreak; 38 students positive

COVID-19 News and Information
MANHASSET, Long Island (WABC) -- Less than one week after we profiled how a Long Island school was working to resume sports safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, officials announced a spike in cases that is forcing all-remote learning and the halting of all after-school activities.

Manhasset Superintendent Dr. Vincent Butera sent a letter to families saying the Manhasset Secondary School, a six-year high school and middle school, will be fully remote through at least February 26. All extracurricular activities and athletics are suspended until at least that time as well.

"Earlier today, we were notified by the Nassau County Department of Health with regard to reported parties/gatherings attended by our Secondary School students within the past 10 days," Dr. Butera wrote. " These parties/gatherings have become super spreader events that have resulted in an alarming increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases throughout the community."

Dr. Butera said there have been at least 38 reported student positive cases as of the time of his letter, and that the district will continue to monitor the positive cases to determine if there is an impact at the elementary level.

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"The happiness in my heart is indescribable," her father said.

He said all identified cases are in isolation and that their close contacts have been quarantined by the Department of Health. He added that many of the students who have tested positive have been asymptomatic, and anyone whose child attended a party or gathering in the past 10 days or who has been in close contact with someone who attended one get tested immediately and quarantine so as to limit the spread of the virus.

"These disconcerting actions by members of our community continue to put our entire school community at risk and cause a heightened sense of fear and anxiety," he wrote. "As we have communicated in the past, events like these impact the entire community resulting in potentially serious illness for students, their families, and our faculty and staff. In addition to the suspension of onsite learning, as well as the cancelation of athletic events and extracurricular activities at the Secondary School, these actions necessitate that we pause discussions regarding returning more students to full-time learning until we can assess the exponential impact of these actions."

He also urged parents to limit gatherings while the school is closed to in-person learning.

"During this time, we stress the importance of limiting contacts you and your children have with others outside of your household," he wrote.

The district will have testing available to any student who wants to be tested in our Secondary School gymnasium on Sunday, February 21, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Anyone interested in testing is asked to pre-register.

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