Out of an abundance of caution, Patchogue-Medford Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna Jones announced the school would be going full remote the week after the holiday break beginning on Monday, Jan. 4.
COVID-19 numbers began to soar over 9 percent the weekend leading up to the decision with well over 15,000 cases per day in Suffolk County.
“The number of cases requiring quarantine within the District significantly increased by Sunday afternoon,” said Jones noting that parents were made aware that a decision would be made on Sunday afternoon prior to break on Dec. 23. “We were concerned about the rising number of cases in the District and the County along with our ability to cover teacher absences due to the
rising numbers. We need to be able to open safely. If I can’t do that, then I won’t open.”
The health and safety of the students and staff are their primary concern, she added.
The schools will be closed through the week, Friday, Jan. 8. The decision to reopen the following week on Monday, Jan. 11 will be made by the end of week.
“Hopefully new cases will be minimal this week,” she continued.
As for neighboring districts like South Country Schools and William Floyd, they remained open.
“Our health department officials have repeatedly stated that schools are the safest places to be with all of the proactive measures in place such as social distancing, masks, desk shields, cleaning and sanitizing, increased MERV-rated filters and less volume due to the full-virtual option,” said William Floyd superintendent of schools Kevin M. Coster. “Students learn best in person and it is imperative for us as a district with a free- and reduced-meal rate exceeding 65 percent that we are open and here for our in-person students and their families for as long as it is safe and possible.”