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Bridgehampton Sixth-Grade Class in Quarantine

Mon, 12/07/2020 - 11:51
The Bridgehampton School
Christine Sampson

The Bridgehampton School has quarantined one of its two sixth-grade classes for 14 days — 14 out of the 18 students that make up the whole sixth grade — after the administration learned a student in that grade has tested positive for Covid-19. Ten staff members are also quarantined, according to an announcement from the school district on Sunday.

Not only are those 14 students on remote learning through Dec. 18, but also, the secondary school population in grades seven through 12 are back on remote learning — not in quarantine — because the 10 adults who are in quarantine are involved in the teaching of multiple grades and subjects.

"We can't find substitutes," said Robert Hauser, the district superintendent, on Monday.

Children in kindergarten through the fifth grade are attending their classes in person as usual right now, he said.

The sixth-grade Covid case threw a wrench into the district's new effort to bring back its middle and high school students for in-person learning grouped by grade, Mr. Hauser said. The seventh, eighth, and ninth grades are in one group, and the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades are in another group. The older children attended school three days last week before the district learned of the sixth-grade situation.

"It's been disrupted now," Mr. Hauser said. "Last week it was great. Forty percent of the student population returned. It was very positive, very upbeat."

The seventh, eighth, and ninth graders will theoretically have three in-person days, from Dec. 21 through Dec. 23, after the current quarantine is over.

"This is the new normal," Mr. Hauser said. "You have to go with the flow here on a daily basis. The most comforting part of this is that of the 70-plus school districts in just Suffolk County, we're all experiencing this together."

There has been no evidence of the virus spreading in the school itself, he said, which is widely the case in New York State over all.

He pointed to the testing requirements put in place in the Hampton Bays School District after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo deemed that community a "yellow zone," the first of the three designations that reflect rising Covid-19 rates in a particular municipality.

"Hampton Bays is somewhat relevant to us because they are so close," Mr. Hauser said. "It helps that if we see Hampton Bays acting first, at least we know if and when it becomes our turn, we can look to them as an example of what to do."

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