Special education high school teacher loses morale when no students show up for in-person learning

WOODSIDE, Queens (WABC) -- A special education teacher took video of his empty classroom after none of his nine students showed up for first period.

The video was taken at William Cullen Bryant High School on Thursday -- the first day of in-person learning for middle school and high school students in New York City in nearly seven months.

"We're off to a very, very rough start," the teacher said. "My morale has dramatically decreased since I got here."

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The teacher said more kids did show up online for remote learning.

"On a positive note, my babies are roaming the school and I get to see them for the first time in 6 months," he wrote alongside the video.

Attendance did improve somewhat for his later classes when he had six out of eight, four out of 10, and three out of four turn up for subsequent periods.

Also in Queens, officials announced Thursday that The John F. Kennedy Jr. School in Elmhurst will close for two weeks after two staff members tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the first school in New York City to close due to a potential outbreak.

RELATED | Queens school is 1st in NYC to shut down over COVID cases
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Naveen Dhaliwal reports an elementary school in Queens is closing for two weeks after COVID exposure of two or more students.

The school will remain closed through October 13, according to a letter sent home to families on Wednesday.

The Department of Education said the staff members were in different classrooms and are not linked. The incident meets the protocols of 14-day switch to remote learning.

RELATED | Back-to-school NYC: 1st day for middle and high schoolers
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Diana Rocco has more on the first day of in-person learning for middle and high schoolers in New York City.

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