Teachers told to go back to work after being in contact with student infected with COVID-19

October 9, 2020

    Teachers at a school on Long Island, New York are up in arms after they were told to come back to the classrooms, even though a student tested positive for COVID-19.

    “This is just not making any medical sense to me. It doesn’t follow their documents. What the heck is going on?” says Tony Felicio, head of the teacher’s union.

    A student in the Connetquot School District tested positive for the virus and reportedly came in to contact with six teachers at the middle school.

    While the state has said anyone who may have come into contact with the virus must quarantine for 14 days, the school has told the teachers to return to the classroom.

    Felicio says that goes against everything that the state Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been saying. He adds it doesn’t make any sense that they should have to fight with the school about health and safety issues.

    “Nobody can give me a medical or scientific reason how any of this make sense that I have teachers that are forced to go back to work when they’ve been with a known case within their classroom,” he said.

    In a statement the superintendent says the Health Department works on a case-by-case basis and because the district has protection for teachers and students, like dividers in the classrooms, it reduces the risk of becoming infected.

    “Suffolk County Department of Health Services investigates all reported cases and looks at the conditions under which the proximate contacts were in contact with the positive case. As they are the experts, we rely on them to make informed decisions as to whether they were in contact enough to become infected. The District worked with the SCDHS to give them the data necessary for them to draw conclusions,” Dr. Lynda Adams, Superintendent of Connetquot Schools, said in a statement.

    She adds: “We have significant precautions in place, social distancing, masks, cohorted classes and transparent dividers. We did this so that if we had positive cases, we would keep all of our students and staff safe from transmission. We were happy that the SCDHS released the majority of folks from precautionary quarantine because that’s why we put all those precautions in place.”

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