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Wantagh High School closes after new COVID-19 cases surface

It's a week of virtual learning for all

It's a week of virtual learning for all of Wantagh High School. Credit: Raychel Brightman

After placing its senior class on remote learning last week, the entire Wantagh High School is doing virtual learning this week because COVID-19 cases continue to crop up, district officials said Tuesday.

All after-school and athletic activities are canceled as well, after nine students tested positive for the virus, Wantagh Schools Superintendent John C. McNamara said. Those activities will remain suspended until in-person classes resume.

The district will host free virus testing for high school students at designated times Wednesday and Thursday, McNamara said in a note on the district's website.

"Up until last week, we were on an excellent path to further open up our secondary schools. It is unfortunate that this latest outbreak has delayed this effort," McNamara said.

Late last month, Wantagh High's senior class was forced into remote learning because of an outbreak of COVID-19. Fifteen students, including 13 seniors, who had appeared to be directly connected to a social gathering had tested positive.

"I implore you over the coming weeks to please use this time to help us reduce the number of cases that we are seeing," McNamara's note continued, "by practicing social distancing, mask-wearing and regular hand washing. Please do not host social gatherings, as they have clearly been the source of this outbreak."

The note said students do not have to preregister for the rapid testing, which will take place at Wantagh High. The district’s other schools remain open for in-person instruction.

Jennifer Keane, the district's director of athletics, said she hopes sports can resume on Monday, but that JV and varsity teams may lose a total of 16 games over a five-day period because they won't have the minimum number of practices required beforehand.

"It looks like we'll lose those games on the various schedules, but it may not impact us in the standings, as those may be considered no-contests," she said. "We're waiting on the different sports coordinators to make those determinations."

In Glen Cove, Landing Elementary School is fully remote for the rest of the week after several students and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, said Maria Rianna, superintendent of the Glen Cove school district.

"Once we have a number of students or staff members in quarantine because of exposure, we want to ensure that everyone is safe," Rianna said Tuesday. "So we felt it would be most appropriate to close for remote instruction to continue our contact tracing and to ensure that no one else is impacted by this."

Barring any additional issues, the school will reopen on Monday, she said.

With Robert Brodsky and Gregg Sarra