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Six Uniondale students test positive for COVID-19, district representative says

Three students at Uniondale's Turtle Hook Middle School

Three students at Uniondale's Turtle Hook Middle School tested positive for COVID-19, according to a district representative. Credit: Tara Conry

Six young students in the Uniondale school district, plus one employee, tested positive for COVID-19 and were sent home along with classmates who came in close contact in five school buildings, a district representative said Monday.

Students’ families were notified on Friday and over the weekend by phone, and remote instruction will be provided for all those affected, the representative said.

Meanwhile, Levittown on Friday advised parents and staffers that a total of 32 cases had been reported in eight local schools over five days, while New York City on Monday said it would be administering tests at its schools more often.

In Uniondale, Monique Akil, the schools superintendent, said through the district's public-relations agency that a staff member at Uniondale High School tested positive, as did students at Walnut Street Elementary School, Grand Avenue Elementary School, Turtle Hook Middle School and Lawrence Road Middle School.

"The students and staff in question, and any individuals who have been identified as a close contact, will be quarantined for ten days," Akil said in a statement provided by the PR agency, ZE Creative Communications. "We have arranged for deep cleaning of the affected areas. As per our reopening plan, we have been in touch with the Nassau County Health Department."

Cases reported included three students at Turtle Hook school, and one student each at Grand Avenue, Walnut Street and Lawrence Road, the representative said.

Uniondale is among the first districts on Long Island publicly reporting pandemic cases for the 2021-22 school year, since schools began reopening on Aug. 26. The 6,800-student Uniondale system, like many others, started classes Sept. 1, with all students assigned to in-school instruction five days a week.

Some other districts have provided parents with periodic updates on COVID cases in their own areas.

The 32 Levittown cases in eight local schools outlined in the advisory to parents sent on Friday included: East Broadway Elementary with two cases and Gardiners Avenue Elementary with five cases. It also included Northside Elementary, with one case; Summit Lane Elementary, reporting one; Salk Middle School, reporting 10; Wisdom Lane Middle, with six; Division Avenue High School, with two and MacArthur High School, with five.

On Sunday, 32 more New Yorkers died of COVID-19 — including four in Suffolk but none in Nassau, according to a news release sent by Gov. Kathy Hochul's office.

The death toll is down considerably from the worst of the pandemic last year, when hundreds a day were dying, including double digits on the Island. According to a tally the state reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 56,309 New Yorkers are believed to have died of the virus, Hochul's office said.

The number of New Yorkers who tested positive Sunday for COVID-19 on Long Island was 476 — 223 in Nassau and 253 in Suffolk. That's down significantly from some days over the past weeks, when there were some 1,200 cases being diagnosed daily.

In New York City, a sampling of unvaccinated public school students will be tested every week — instead of twice a month — starting next week under new coronavirus-pandemic protocols announced Monday by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Also Monday, de Blasio announced another shift in quarantine protocol: unvaccinated students will no longer need to stay out of school following an infection in their classroom, so long as they had been masked and at least three feet apart. This is in line with a recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he said.

"We’ve decided to make both of these changes simultaneously, and they do complement each other," de Blasio said at his daily news conference, announcing they’ll take effect next Monday — the effective date of the city Department of Education’s vaccine mandate for all school personnel.

On Sunday, the biggest labor union representing school employees, the United Federation of Teachers, publicized a letter sent to the mayor that requested a return to the weekly testing policy that was in effect for the last school year.

Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter, also at de Blasio’s news conference, said the protocols being announced "add an additional layer of security and surveillance to our testing policy" and the looser quarantine rules "will help keep students safely in their classrooms."

The protocols cover elementary, middle and high schools, she said.

New York City’s first day of school was Sept. 13.

Syntax, the public-relations agency representing the Suffolk and Nassau superintendents' associations, did not respond to a message asking about testing protocols at Long Island schools.

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