Guggenheim Elementary School in the Port Washington school district will learn remotely this week due to understaffing, according to Superintendent Michael Hynes.
In a letter sent to parents and community members, and posted to Facebook by the Guggenheim Home School Association, Hynes said that what was “happening across Long Island regarding the increase in people testing positive for COVID-19 is now directly impacting our district.”
“An increasing number of our staff members have either tested positive, or have been identified as close contacts in out-of-school scenarios, and have been ordered to quarantine,” Hynes wrote. “With an additional three staff members who have tested COVID-19 positive, we have close to 20 percent of Guggenheim’s staff needing to quarantine. Unfortunately, even with the several additional staff members hired this summer, this is resulting in the district being understaffed at Guggenheim Elementary School.”
He said that as a result of the understaffing, the district made the “difficult decision” that students and staff would follow a remote schedule for five days, beginning on Monday and ending Friday.
“We acknowledge that a short-term closure poses an inconvenience, however, with Long Island’s transmission rate still increasing, there is a possibility we will need to take this action again,” Hynes wrote. “This situation is another indication of why it is imperative, particularly coming into the holiday season, that we all adhere to all the health guidelines and protocols set and advised by our local and regional health officials, as well as the CDC.”
Hynes had said at last week’s Board of Education meeting that the district was close to closing Schreiber High School and Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School due to teacher absences, saying that, at that time, 58 faculty and staff members across the district were quarantining.
As of Dec. 11, the district had seen 73 positive cases, with 15 coming from faculty and staff members. Three of the faculty cases were reported to have come from Guggenheim, while the remainder were from Schreiber and Weber.
“We are grateful for your continued patience and cooperation in transparency and social responsibility as we continue to mitigate the spread of the virus in our community,” Hynes wrote.