Two schools in the William Floyd School District will be closed Tuesday after a middle school student tested positive for COVID-19, officials said, continuing a series of temporary shutdowns of Long Island classrooms as virus cases emerge through the first few weeks of a return to in-person instruction.
A the state level, five states with high levels of COVID-19 infection were added Tuesday to the list of areas from which travelers must self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving in New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said.
Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Wyoming were placed on the state’s “travel advisory” list, bringing to 35 the total number of states and territories subject to the mandate aimed at curbing spread of the coronavirus. No states or territories were removed from the list this week.
New York’s COVID-19 level remained low at 0.89% in results completed Monday, but Cuomo said threats remain to the state’s ability to keep the virus under control.
“For a clear example of the continuing extent of the COVID crisis in America, look no further than New York’s travel advisory list. The virus’ spread across the country — new cases have increased more than 15 percent in the last 10 days — makes it all the more urgent that we stay vigilant here at home,” Cuomo said in a statement.
The 14-day quarantine applies to any person arriving from an area with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average, or an area with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.
The news came as the United States passed the grim milestone of 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 — by far the highest total of any country in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking cases.
In New York, once the U.S.’s epicenter of the pandemic, three people died of COVID-19 related causes on Monday, Cuomo said. It was far below the nearly 800 a day who were dying in the state at the pandemic’s peak in April.
Of 83,997 test results reported to New York State on Monday, 754 were confirmed positive for COVID-19. The total number of new cases was 66 in Nassau County, 67 in Suffolk County, and 351 in New York City.
The positive test level was 1.1% on Long Island and 1.0% in New York City.
State Liquor Authority agents and State Troopers inspected 1,023 establishments Monday and issued summonses to three for violating state laws aimed to preventing spread of the virus. All three were in Nassau County, Cuomo said.
Temporary school closings continue
Officials said William Floyd Middle School and Nathaniel Woodhull Elementary School would both be closed and students would move to remote learning Tuesday, the latter “out of an abundance of caution” because a sibling of the middle school student who tested positive attends class there. Officials said that elementary school student has not tested positive for the virus.
The Riverhead Central School District also announced that “an instructional staff member” at Riverhead Middle School has tested positive for COVID-19. In a letter to parents Monday interim superintendent Christine Tona said all 29 students “who were in contact with this staff member” were being asked to stay home and participate in remote learning on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The staff member will quarantine, according to Suffolk County Department of Health guidelines, Tona wrote in that letter.
The announcements are the latest in a growing list of COVID-19-related school closures and quarantines across Long Island, as educators enforce recommended protocols.
In Riverheard, Tona said that on Tuesday the county health department would discuss steps regarding the potential quarantine of the 29 students who had been in contact with the staff member and said that if the health department determines the students do not need to quarantine they could be allowed back for in-school learning as soon as Wednesday.
“We are closely monitoring this situation and will provide you with updates as we learn more,” Tona wrote in that letter, adding: “As always, the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our priority.”
In its announcement, the William Floyd School District administration said that since Wednesday is a scheduled “all-virtual learning day” in the district the move to close both schools on Tuesday would “provide two full days for a thorough cleansing and disinfecting of these buildings.” Officials noted the cleanings also are done “each night.”
All other schools in the William Floyd district are open for in-person learning on Tuesday.
The William Floyd School District has been in the eye of the coronavirus in-person versus remote learning debate after high school student Maverick Stow attempted to attend classes on his assigned remote learning days and was suspended, then arrested and charged with trespassing when he attempted to attend school in person despite that suspension. Superintendent Kevin Coster last week announced Stow had been suspended for the entire school year, citing the 17-year-old senior’s repeated defiance of the district’s hybrid learning plan.
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New York’s travelers’ quarantine list
Travelers in New York State’s “travel advisory” list, due to community spread of the COVID-19 virus, are required to quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine applies to any person arriving from an area with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average, or an area with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average. The following is the updated list of states and other jurisdictions whose travelers face those restrictions in New York as of Sept. 22:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
SOURCE: New York Governor’s Office