East Hampton High School Reopens Wednesday After COVID-19-Forced Closure - 27 East

East Hampton High School Reopens Wednesday After COVID-19-Forced Closure

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Desirée Keegan on Jan 12, 2022

East Hampton High School reopened its doors to in-person learning Wednesday after being closed for nearly a week.

Administrators made the decision last Wednesday to go fully remote Thursday and Friday due to the uptick is COVID-19 positive cases and quarantines due to close contact. On Saturday, the district reevaluated the situation and decided to continue live-steaming classes Monday and Tuesday.

“We’re waiting for staff to get back from quarantine,” Superintendent Adam Fine said in an email Monday afternoon. “We are planning on opening Wednesday and do not anticipate any additional remote instruction.”

Fine sent an email to parents last Wednesday afternoon notifying them of the decision to close.

“It is my hope that this short break will allow our staff to get well and curb the spread that seems to be occurring in our high school community,” he said in that email.

Students were logging into virtual classrooms via Google Meet. Even if a teacher or student was out due to a coronavirus infection, he or she had the choice to teach or attend class remotely if he or she was feeling well enough.

During the January 4 Board of Education meeting, Fine, who was out with COVID-19 himself, said he did not believe the district was going to have to close school, telling some callers during public comment that the high school and elementary school were on the cusp of needing to go remote, but that numbers were projecting downward.

“There’s not a hard-and-fast number, because there’s so many moving parts, however, we just were not comfortable with our total number of cases — both staff and students,” High School Principal Sara Smith said January 6.

The high school reported 26 new cases on January 5, bringing the total number of those infected up to 101 over the seven days prior. That number jumped to 108 schoolwide from January 3 through January 9. The total included 82 students, 18 teachers and eight staff members. The number of positive cases at John M. Marshall Elementary School, which did not close its doors to in-person learning, sat at 69 over the same seven-day period, which included 53 students, 12 teachers and four staff members. It currently sits at 64 positives, with nine teachers out, according to state-collected data from January 4 to January 10.

On January 10, East Hampton High School reported 19 new positives, which included one teacher and one staff member. The total number of those infected from January 4 to January 10 has declined to 71, of which seven are teachers.

Smith said tutoring will remain available for those students who were unable to attend class. The state guarantees anyone out on quarantine 10 hours of extra help, but the principal said a student will never be turned down should he or she need more attention.

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