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Students Test Negative, but Travel Is a Worry

Thu, 02/11/2021 - 07:51

A round of Covid-19 testing for East Hampton High School athletes and a more general testing session at the Springs School have turned up good results for both schools, officials announced this week.

At East Hampton — where basketball, considered a high-risk sport, is underway — 40 student athletes were tested and none were positive for Covid, according to Wendy Geehreng, a school nurse and Covid-19 coordinator for the East Hampton district.

"I do think the negative tests were a good sign for the district overall, but a small sampling, so [it's] hard to make generalizations from these results," Ms. Geehreng said in an email this week.

East Hampton will now implement weekly testing for those high-risk teams. In March, the district expects to implement a wider testing protocol for sports teams.

In the first of two rounds of Covid-19 testing at the Springs School, there were no positive results, the district announced Monday.

According to Debra Winter, the superintendent, 55 tests were administered on Feb. 3 in partnership with Suffolk County. Twenty-two students were tested, 27 teachers or teaching assistants, and 6 other staff members.

Ms. Winter said Monday the district needed about 50 additional parents to register their children for the tests, which are voluntary and free. The district’s second round of testing took place yesterday; results were not available by press time.

"We are trying to show we do not have any asymptomatic individuals in our building with Covid," Ms. Winter told The Star.

According to the School Covid Report Card, a statewide database that is updated daily, Springs has had 43 cases among students and staff since the start of school in September. Of those, 35 have been students. The database was most recently updated on Tuesday with data from Monday.

The same database shows the East Hampton School District has had 152 cases since school started. It breaks down to 79 at the high school, 21 at the middle school, and 52 at the elementary school.

"There is no evidence thus far for school-related transmission, but when the community positivity rate gets as high as ours has been, it is almost impossible to exclude that possibility," Ms. Geehreng said.

As of press time yesterday, the state’s school Covid database showed the Montauk School has had 22 cases of Covid-19, Sag Harbor 25, and Bridgehampton 29. The Amagansett School has had eight, the Wainscott School has had four, and the Sagaponack School has not reported any cases among staff or students. Farther west, the Southampton School District reached 99 cases on Monday.

With another school vacation coming up in the immediate future, school officials from many districts are worried that there may be a spate of cases resulting from travel.

"We are concerned about another uptick post-midwinter break that starts this Saturday," Ms. Geehreng said. "Students that do travel out of New York's contiguous states will be required to quarantine on their arrival back."

The quarantine is a 10-day period that students can "test out of" by showing a negative test result from three days prior to their return home and again four days after. A full review of guidelines in both English and Spanish is online at

Ms. Winter directed Springs families to tell their children's teacher or the school nurse if they have traveled and cannot or do not test out of the quarantine. "Your child will be marked absent and will not be able to access any remote learning," she said.

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