STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — As the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases across New York City rises, various public, private and charter schools have been required to close campus for at least a day, or up to two weeks, to follow health guidelines and ensure the safety of students and staff.
Ten Staten Island schools have had to temporarily shutter since the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
If there are two or more confirmed cases within the same school, and not in the same classroom, the two classes quarantine for 14 days and the school is closed for a minimum of 24 hours while a city Department of Health (DOH) investigation is underway.
If new coronavirus cases surpass the 3% threshold using a seven-day rolling average, all schools in New York City will need to close.
Here’s a look at the schools that have had to temporarily close their buildings this school year, according to those with knowledge of each situation.
- Barnes Intermediate School (I.S. 24), Great Kills, temporarily closed on Oct. 30 for an initial 24 hours.
- PS 4, Arden Heights, temporarily closed on Oct. 28. It is expected to reopen on Nov. 10.
- Tottenville High School, Huguenot, temporarily closed on Oct. 27. It has since reopened.
- Bernstein Intermediate School (I.S. 7), Huguenot, temporarily closed on Oct. 27. It has since reopened.
- New Dorp High School, New Dorp, temporarily closed on Oct. 26. It has since reopened.
- Barnes Intermediate School (I.S. 24), Great Kills, temporarily closed on Oct. 26. It has since reopened.
- PS 58, New Springville, temporarily closed on Oct. 20. It is expected to reopen on Nov. 2.
- P373R, co-located “J” building at the Michael J. Petrides campus in Sunnyside, temporarily closed Oct. 5. It has since reopened.
- Lavelle Preparatory Charter School, Bloomfield, temporarily closed Sept. 22. It has since reopened.
- Zion Lutheran Preschool, Willowbrook, temporarily closed on Sept. 21. It has since reopened.
So what would need to happen for a school to shut down?
School-based staff and students can’t report to school if they knowingly have been in close contact in the past 10 days with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 through a diagnostic test or who has or had: symptoms of the virus; tested positive through a diagnostic test in the past 10 days; experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days; or traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the state travel advisory in the past 14 days.
Here’s a closer look at what happens if there are confirmed cases in a school:
- One confirmed coronavirus case in a classroom, or at least two cases linked together in the same classroom, would be enough to quarantine the entire class of students for 14 days. The school would remain open.
- At least two cases in the school in separate classrooms would quarantine both classes for 14 days, with additional school members quarantined based on where exposure was in the school. The school would close for an initial 24 hours.
- At least two cases linked together by circumstances outside of school would close the school for an initial 24 hours and all students would quarantine for 14 days.
- At least two cases not linked together, but exposure was confirmed for each one outside of the school setting, would close the school for an initial 24 hours and quarantine all students for 14 days.
- If a link is unable to be determined for at least two cases, the entire school building would be closed for 14 days.
The DOH, in partnership with the city Test & Trace Corps, will conduct an investigation into any close contacts of those who have a positive test result, and those people will be asked to quarantine and not report to school buildings. All close contacts are referred to the Test & Trace Corps for monitoring during the quarantine period. Schools will communicate to all families and students within school any time a case is laboratory-confirmed.
When a school closes or a classroom quarantines, students and teachers will move to remote learning.
How do I know if my school has positive coronavirus cases?
The city Department of Education (DOE) said it would notify school communities if there are confirmed coronavirus cases in a child’s school. The agency asks families to sign up for an NYC Schools Account (NYCSA) so they can be contacted via phone, email, or text message. You can sign up here if you don’t have an account.
The DOE created a Daily COVID Case Map that shows all known cases of coronavirus at public schools. It is updated Sunday through Friday at 6 p.m. The map will show schools with a positive coronavirus case, with different color-coded dots. A red dot indicates a building has been closed, a blue dot indicates one (or more) classrooms in a building has been closed, and a grey dot indicates a member of the school community tested positive, but the school community wasn’t exposed.
New Yorkers are able to see the number of confirmed positive coronavirus cases in their child’s school using the state’s online portal. The portal shows cases for public, private, Catholic, and charter schools, as well as universities and colleges.
Here’s how you can look for your school’s coronavirus dashboard data.
- Visit the state’s COVID-19 Report card website at schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov.
- Choose your school type — whether it’s a public, charter, or private school, or a higher education institution or SUNY. Catholic schools are considered private schools in the state’s dashboard.
- Begin typing your school’s full name, and a list of school names will appear.
- For public schools — like PS 22 or IS 61 — don’t use periods.
- For schools like St. Joseph by-the-Sea or St. Charles School, you need to type it out the full word “saint” instead of “st.”
- Staten Island’s colleges are also available to search, including “City University of New York College of Staten Island,” “St. John’s University” and “Wagner College.”
- Choose your school from the list to view the data.
- The dashboard includes information on: the total number of on-site people who tested positive; the teaching model offered; the total on-site people testing positive by students, teachers and staff; the last seven days of test and positive results of individuals within school facilities, and enrollment and employment data.