FARMINGVILLE, NY (OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) — Sachem Central School District reported 65 additional COVID-19 infections over the latest 10-day reporting period between April 7 and 16. Across the district's 10 school buildings, 41% of the new positives came from just one school — Sachem High School East in Farmingville. Meanwhile, Sachem's superintendent said the district must quarantine a greater number of middle and high school students for any positive case.
Sachem HS East reported 27 infections, by far the greatest number of virus positives for any Sachem School over that stretch of time. Students accounted for 26 of the positives, while only one teacher or staff member was infected. By comparison, the number of new cases came in far lower at the district's other high school. Sachem High School North in Lake Ronkonkoma experienced nine new positives, all affecting students.
Among the district’s two high schools, three middle schools, and 10 elementary schools, only Wenonah Elementary School in Lake Grove reported no new cases during the period.
The 65 positives brought Sachem Central School District to 1,066 infections, affecting 861 students and 205 teachers and staff during the school year.
Quarantines to Impact More Students
The district must go through a rigorous contact-tracing process for every new infection, which often results in students, teachers, and staff forced out of the school building to self-isolate under quarantine. According to Sachem Schools, the process may become more complex and force greater numbers into quarantine, now that New York State updated its school guidance on safe distancing in schools, permitting students to be as close as three feet from one another in regular classrooms.
"Unfortunately, New York State has not reduced the contact tracing from 6 feet down to 3 feet to coincide with this new guidance," Sachem Schools Superintendent Chris Pellettieri wrote in a memo to the Sachem community last week. "As a result, we will still need to quarantine a greater number of students at the secondary level due to any positive cases."
This came when the district significantly increased the number of students simultaneously inside the school buildings and classrooms. Sachem’s secondary schools reopened to any student that chose to attend in-person five days a week, which meant ending the alternate-day distance learning. The district phased in the full-time reentry of middle and high school students between March 8 and April 12. Elementary students have been welcomed into their school buildings every day since September.
COVID-19 Cases at Each School
The following are the latest increases and total positives at each school in Sachem, according to daily reporting for the 10 days between April 7-16. Minor discrepancies are possible as recent cases synch with the state and district online dashboards. There may be periodic changes to prior updates.
Sachem Elementary Schools
• Cayuga Elementary School in Lake Grove – 29 cases, up 2 (18 students, 11 teachers/staff)
• Chippewa Elementary School in Holtsville – 41 cases, up 2 (30 students, 11 teachers/staff)
• Grundy Avenue Elementary School in Holbrook – 44 cases, up 3 (37 students, 7 teachers/staff)
• Hiawatha Elementary School in Lake Ronkonkoma – 34 cases, up 1 (26 students, 8 teachers/staff)
• Lynwood Avenue Elementary School in Farmingville – 60 cases, up 1 (51 students including 19 off-site students, 9 teachers/staff including 3 off-site teachers/staff)
• Merrimac Elementary School in Holbrook – 27 cases, up 1 (23 students, 4 teachers/staff)
• Nokomis Elementary School in Holbrook – 35 cases, up 1 (23 students, 12 teachers/staff)
• Tamarac Elementary School in Holtsville – 33 cases, up 2 (24 students including 1 off-site student, 9 teachers/staff)
• Waverly Avenue Elementary School in Holtsville – 40 cases, up 3 (27 students including 1 off-site student, 13 teachers/staff)
• Wenonah Elementary School in Lake Grove – 32 cases, up 0 (22 students, 10 teachers/staff)
Sachem Middle Schools
• Sagamore Middle School in Holtsville – 82 cases, up 5 (67 students including 6 off-site students, 15 teachers/staff)
• Samoset Middle School in Lake Ronkonkoma – 58 cases, up 4 (43 students including 1 off-site student, 15 teachers/staff)
• Seneca Middle School in Holbrook – 95 cases, up 4 (73 students including 5 off-site students, 22 teachers/staff)
Sachem High Schools
• Sachem High School East in Farmingville – 221 cases, up 27 (190 students including 5 off-site students, 31 teachers/staff)
• Sachem High School North in Lake Ronkonkoma – 235 cases, up 9 (207 students including 19 off-site students, 28 teachers/staff)
The state’s COVID-19 Report Card is available at https://schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov. Similar information is also on Sachem Schools' COVID-19 data dashboard available at http://www.sachem.edu/covid_letters/covid_letters.