Two Queens public schools closed after staffers report second cases of COVID-19

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This is Marine Park Junior High School in Brooklyn. It and many other schools may not open if the teachers go on strike because their health concerns are not met by the city. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

The city has temporarily closed two Queens public high schools on Friday after both reported a second case of the novel coronavirus among staffers in a seven day period, the Department of Education announced. 

Beach Channel Educational Campus in Far Rockaway and P.S. 90 Horace Mann in Richmond Hill reported their second COVID-19 cases on Thursday, according to DOE officials, launching and investigation and a 24-hour-long shut down of the buildings. 

It is unclear when the infected staffers at Beach Channel Educational Campus and P.S. 90 took their COVID-19 tests. 

Under DOE guidelines, schools will be shut down if more than one person not connected by classroom or student cohort reports testing positive for the virus within a seven day period. So far, four public schools have had to temporarily close since buildings reopened for teachers on Sept. 8. 

The first school to close its doors was P.S. 811X—the Academy for Career and Living Skill—a district 75 school in the Bronx three days after buildings reopened. District 75 schools serve the city’s most disabled students. 

There are now at least 61 school staffers have reported testing positive for COVID-19 out of 19,000 DOE school-based employees who have received rapid tests for the virus, according to the DOE. 

Here is of school buildings with confirmed cases confirmed by the DOE. Number one through 21 had a confirmed case, with the infected staffer reporting to the school building.

Numbers 22 through 35 are buildings with a confirmed case but the COVID-19 staffer did not return to their school building. 

  1. K139    PS 139 (OPENED 9/17) 
  2. Q280   PS 280
  3. X127    IS 127
  4. K234    IS 234
  5. K056    PS 56
  6. X131    IS 131
  7. K224    PS 224
  8. Q315   PS 315
  9. Q465   Far Rockaway Educational Campus
  10. K420    Franklin K Lane Educational Campus
  11. K226    PS 226
  12. M041   PS 41
  13. Q007   PS7
  14. M165   PS 165
  15. Q410   Beach Channel Educational Campus (CLOSED)
  16. Q276   The William Wordsworth Educational Complex
  17. K405    Midwood HS
  18. M146   PS 146
  19. M475   Health Professions HS
  20. K005    PS 5 Brooklyn
  21. Q090   PS 90 (CLOSED)
  22. M043   Adam Clayton Powell Educational Complex
  23. M873   Manhattan Village Academy
  24. R059    The Harbor View School
  25. K026    PS 26
  26. X026    PS 396
  27. MAYQ  Harlem Hospital
  28. Q440   Forest Hills HS
  29. M191   PS 191
  30. M125   PS 125
  31. K071    IS 71
  32. K445    New Utrecht HS
  33. X082    IS 232
  34. Q227   IS 227
  35. K281    IS 281

Some parents and school staff worry about the DOE’s current school closure policy arguing that buildings should close after their first reported positive case to prevent potential spreading of the virus. Earlier this week, 13 school staffers at Queens High School for Information, Research and Technology— one of the four schools located at Far Rockaway Educational Campus–were asked to quarantine after a colleague tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, according to a source connected to the school. 

School community members were not notified in writing of the positive case until late Wednesday, the source said. But when they were, staffers was also instructed to return to work in person on Thursday since an investigation had already been completed, all close contacts had been reached and the building had been properly disinfected. 

“I don’t know how that’s possible since they never closed the building,” the source said. “There were people working in the building on Tuesday, people were in the building on Wednesday.”