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When teachers call out over COVID-19 concerns

New positive cases spark Connetquot High teachers to call out

At Connetquot High School, 38 teachers called out Oct. 22 and 45 teachers called out Oct. 23, Superintendent Lynda Adams said in an email, adding that the absences had a "direct impact on the school’s daily operations."

Anthony Felicio, president of the 640-member Connetquot Teachers Association, said teachers were feeling uneasy about being in the building after positive cases emerged last week.

A high school student tested positive on Oct. 18, then two other students Oct. 19, a teacher on Oct. 20 and another student on Oct. 21, according to district emails. There also were two staff members, who don’t have daily contact with students, who tested positive on Oct. 21, district emails showed.

This week, teacher absences have been far fewer, with 18 on Monday, 16 on Tuesday and 18 again on Wednesday, Adams said.

"People don’t feel secure, they feel unsafe," Felicio said. "Shut the school down for two or three days and give people a sense of confidence that you care about their health and safety by disinfecting the entire building."

The number of new positives reported today: 178 in Nassau, 200 in Suffolk, 1,060 in New York City and 2,499 statewide.

Search a map and view charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Travel advisory list: View a map of the current states and territories on the list.

Nassau probes event for Hempstead supervisor over COVID-19 rules

The Nassau County fire marshal is investigating whether a Republican fundraiser for Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin with 200 seated people this week violated state protocols for social gatherings.

Clavin’s campaign held a fundraiser at the Plattduetsche Park Restaurant and Catering Hall in Franklin Square, where donors preregistered to sit at tables at the outdoor catering hall and beer garden, Nassau GOP spokesman Mike Deery said.

A spokesman for Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, a Democrat, said the gathering may have violated state gathering limits of 50 people.

Republican officials said public health measures were taken, including: attendees registering in advance, doing temperatures checks, having the tables of 10 each spaced about 10 feet apart and enforcing mask-wearing. The restaurant’s outdoor dining area has a 2,400-person capacity, which means the fundraiser occupied 10% capacity, Deery said.

NASCAR to honor LI paramedic who survived virus

When Bernard Robinson had tested positive for COVID-19 in March, he was battling double pneumonia and was afraid he was going to die.

But the Valley Stream paramedic administrator — who returned to the field to assist with the pandemic — was back on the job less than two weeks after getting released from the hospital.

And on Saturday, he'll be honored by NASCAR superstar Kurt Busch, who is placing his name on the passenger side of his No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE car in the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Busch has put the name of a health care worker on his vehicle in each of the past five races in the 2020 NASCAR playoffs.

"It’s awesome," said Robinson, a sports fan who occasionally watches NASCAR. "I am very excited. To be part of NASCAR is not something I ever thought I’d do."

Pandemic brings boost to LI farmstands, markets

Long Island farmstands and weekly markets say they've had a spike in shoppers seeking fresh fruit, vegetables and baked goods at open-air markets.

Some are saying they'll stay open longer this year to meet the demand for fresh produce and shopping outside.

At Meyer’s Farm Stand in Woodbury, the influx of customers started at the beginning of the pandemic, says manager Thomas Kahl. He said the rush of customers didn’t stop there — the farm stand planted a sunflower field, drawing in more. Meyer's has increased staff, added roasted corn and hot apple cider on weekends and plans to stay fully open until Christmas.

"The parking lot is just always packed, especially in the afternoon, and people are lining up outside into the lot," says owner Pete Meyer. "I used to know almost all of my customers, but a lot of these people are new and I haven’t met them before."

More to know

PJ Cinemas in Port Jefferson Station will reopen on Friday, after more than seven months of sitting dark during the pandemic.

The U.S. Justice Department vastly expanded its inquiry Wednesday into whether New York is undercounting coronavirus deaths among nursing home residents, demanding detailed data from hundreds of private facilities.

Giants' starting guard Will Hernandez has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a source.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 751,000, the lowest since March, but it's still historically high.

News for you

These restaurants opened up during the pandemic. There’s no doubt COVID-19 took a toll on the industry, but some new restaurants found their place on Long Island since the pandemic started. From taco stands to barbecue to Italian, we've got a guide for you.

Local soap makers now have gift-worthy bars. With all the emphasis this year on washing hands, Long Island bar soap companies say sales are up. And that also means beautiful soaps with intense colors, gemstone-like designs and glitter have become a thing. Check out some offered on LI.

Planning a trip through time by the Hudson River. During the pandemic, Hudson River cities and towns can offer a slice of history just a drive away. Check out some options.

'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' brings back studio audience. With the episode that aired Wednesday, the daytime talk show began selecting 40 people daily from a backlog of previously scheduled fans. The in-person audience must adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols.

Plus: A reminder about Newsday's virtual event Thursday night featuring a chat with the family of former Newsday columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and editor Les Payne. Register here.

Sign up for text messages to get the most important coronavirus news and information.

Commentary

The pandemic made me a farmer again. Howard Kohn writes for the Los Angeles Times: I am a prodigal of Midwestern farm country, and, yes, I recognize the irony that this year I've been leaving home in a rush each morning for the enjoyment of growing food on a spare acre in a Washington, D.C., suburb, the kind of work I hated as a boy in Michigan.

The pandemic made me a farmer again. Ordinarily a crew of parents and children would have done the sowing and reaping, and I would have been their muse, imparting what wisdom remains from my boyhood. Because of the virus, however, the crew was disbanded, and suddenly the acre of "demonstration garden" on the municipal grounds of Takoma Park, Maryland, was all mine, an odd sequel for someone who had abandoned his history.

My great-grandfather, embarking from Germany, was the first in the Kohn family to arrive in America, settling in Michigan in 1883, and for the next three generations the Kohns hoed fields and milked cows by hand. The farm did not pass to my generation. I did not take it over, and my father sold our 120 acres to a neighbor who was accumulating farmland for a massive enterprise reliant on 8-ton tractors.

By then I had already left for a modern life, and, while the loss of our farm brought me remorse, I never returned to it, never accepted my birthright. Keep reading.

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