Breaking News: Confirmed COVID-19 Case at SHS
October 22, 2020
At around 2:30 today, an email was sent out to the Scarsdale Schools community in regard to a student at SHS testing positive for Covid-19. In response, SHS will be closed for Cohort B in person classes on Friday, October 23, and all after school sports and in-person activities will be canceled on Thursday, October 22 and Friday, October 23.
In the email Superintendent Dr. Thomas Hagerman sent this afternoon, he announced that “Athletic practices and contests planned for Saturday will continue as scheduled.” In addition, as of now, the school plans “to open SHS on a regular, hybrid schedule on Monday as contact tracing should be completed and appropriate staff and students will be quarantined.”
Although sports and afterschool activities are only cancelled for two days for the time being, two days is a lot considering the limited fall sports season. Practices and games are already being rescheduled, and with the uncertainty of the virus, it is risky to engage with students from other schools in sports games pending the release of more information regarding this Covid-19 exposure.
Allison Scheffler ‘23, has been participating in Cross Country since the beginning of the season. The first Covid case of an SHS student worries her because of all of the hard work and preparation the team has put into upcoming meets. “I really hope the meets this weekend and practices don’t get cancelled, and hopefully it won’t spread and we’ll be able to go back to in-person school and our regular routines next week,” said Scheffler.
While this situation is frustrating to the whole Scarsdale High School community, freshmen in particular have not been able to experience a sense of normalcy at SHS yet. Nothing is ever set in stone, and schedules are changing on a daily basis.
Violet Martin ‘24 is currently a freshman at SHS. She feels that her high school experience has been completely different than the typical school year. Martin commented, “I will never truly understand what it’s like to have a regular high school experience because of Covid.”
The administration is still learning about the unknowns of this new situation. However, there is hope that this Covid case can be contained through contact tracing and quarantining, and that SHS can resume the normal hybrid schedule on Monday.
QRS is Remote For the Day After Potential COVID-19 Cases Arise
At around 8:15 AM on Thursday, Scarsdale families received an email explaining that students attending Quaker Ridge School would not go to school that day. Earlier that morning, two students at QRS woke up with mild symptoms of COVID-19. Upon learning this information, the school district decided to close the school for the day.
“In consultation with our District Physician, we have decided to place the Quaker Ridge School on remote instruction for Thursday, October 15th out of an abundance of caution,” wrote Eric K. Rauschenbach, Assistant Superintendent of Special Education and Student Services, in the email sent that morning. The school followed procedures for a positive COVID-19 case: testing the students for COVID-19, identifying others who had come into contact with the two students, and preparing to assist the Department of Health in case the students tested positive.
Luckily, both students tested negative, but they and their families will remain in quarantine for two weeks as per New York guidelines. “A heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the family, administrators, faculty, and staff for your cooperation, hard work, and care today,” wrote Dr. Thomas Hagerman, Superintendent of Schools, in an updated email sent to the Scarsdale community.
COVID update: Recent Westchester School Closures
Since schools in New York have been able to open for hybrid learning this fall, many feel the mental health and learning quality for many students has improved as we inch toward a sense of “normalcy.” However, that feeling may be short-lived. While Scarsdale has had a few known positive COVID-19 tests among its students, has closed QR Elementary for one day out of precaution, and quarantined 80 SHS students due the recent PSAT exposure, many schools in Westchester and the NY metro area have also had to close in-person schools due to positive COVID-19 cases. Here is a glimpse of where some neighbor school districts stand. It is a reminder that our vigilance toward preventing COVID-19 protects us all:
- Mamaroneck Union Free School District is fully online from Oct. 16-28 due to a number of newly-confirmed positive COVID-19 cases.
- Yonkers Public Schools also recently closed The Enrico Fermi School. They will be closed until Monday, Oct. 26 after a second staff member alerted the district of a positive COVID-19 test.
- White Plains School District decided to have Post Road Elementary School switch to remote learning until Oct. 28 after a positive COVID-19 case was reported on October 14th.
- Two employees at the W.L. Morse School in Sleepy Hollow tested positive for COVID-19 on October 12th. The school has decided to go to full remote learning on Oct. 13 and Oct. 14.
- Rye High school students had an early dismissal on October 9th after two positive cases were confirmed. Due to how many staff members and students are required to quarantine, the school is expected to be in fully remote learning until Oct. 21.
- Masters Middle School, a private school in Dobbs Ferry, closed for one day after a positive Covid-19 test.
- Lakeland school district also announced that two of their students tested positive for COVID-19, which prompted Walter Panas High School and Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School to switch to remote learning for Thursday and Friday.
- Two schools in Rye Neck closed for a week after two COVID-19 cases were confirmed at Rye Neck Middle School and Daniel Warren Elementary School.
- Someone at Ardsley Middle School tested positive for COVID-19 in early October. This caused the school to move to remote learning for an extended period of time.
- Pleasantville Middle School switched to remote learning from Oct. 2- 16 out of caution due to one confirmed positive case.
All of the recent closures of in-person schools in Westchester should serve as a reminder that COVID is still a serious threat, and if we aren’t careful in following appropriate precautions, we may have to get used to online education even more.