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Whitmore Center Requiring Proof of Negative Covid Tests

Fri, 12/31/2021 - 09:31
The Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center will be closed Monday and Tuesday.
Christine Sampson

The Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center has become one of the first educational institutions here to announce a pause on in-person attendance following the holiday break, with planned closures Monday and Tuesday.

The center is also requiring proof of a negative Covid-19 test for all children and staff members to be able to return in-person on Wednesday when it reopens, according to an email sent to parents earlier this week.

"I made the decision based on the fact that we had had several cases before the holiday break. I heard that several members of my staff and children had also tested positive" during the break itself, Tim Frazier, the center's executive director, said by phone on Friday morning. "This gives parents more time to get testing. . . . The safety of children and the safety of my staff are so important."

He noted that none of the center's children are vaccinated, as they range in age from 18 months to 4 years old. "That adds another layer of concern for me and my staff," Mr. Frazier said.

He said he will work with parents as closely as he can with regard to allowing kids back amid the long delays obtaining test results or the lack of testing appointments locally.

On Thursday, Adam Fine, superintendent of the East Hampton School District, emailed parents to say the administration is closely watching Covid case numbers.

"As the infection rate in Suffolk County exceeds 20 percent, the district leadership is well aware of the many questions and concerns you may have regarding our return to school on January 3," Mr. Fine wrote, adding that parents should "please keep an eye out" for additional messages from the school district in the next few days.

"As previously expressed, remote learning will only be used when absolutely necessary or if staffing shortages dictate the need for safety purposes," he said. "We ask that you continue to report all positive Covid-19 cases to our school nurses. Be assured we will keep the community informed. . . . With your assistance, we will continue to do all we can to keep students, faculty, and staff healthy and safe."

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