Understaffed Port Washington school district goes online for a week

The Port Washington school district has reported that they will operate online for the rest of the week due to understaffing. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

The Port Washington school district started a week of remote learning on Tuesday due to a lack of in-person instructors, according to district Superintendent Michael Hynes.

“As a result of the significant number of staff that are not present because of isolation or a quarantine order, we’ve made the difficult decision that our students and staff districtwide will pivot to remote instruction for the remainder of this week, effective Tuesday, Jan. 12,” Hynes wrote.

“As of right now, we are planning on resuming in-person instruction on Tuesday, Jan. 19. This is predicated on an adequate number of staff members being cleared by the Nassau County health department to return to work on that day.”

The New York State School COVID report card showed that as of Tuesday, 131 students and 49 faculty and staff members in the district had tested positive. Schreiber High School was listed as having 57 students and 13 staff members testing positive, and Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School was listed as having 28 students and seven staff members testing positive.

“What is happening across Long Island regarding the increase in people testing positive for COVID-19 is now directly impacting our district,” Hynes wrote in a letter to the community. “Currently, there is a substantial number of our staff members who have either tested positive, or have been identified as close contacts in out-of-school scenarios and have been ordered to quarantine.”

The superintendent encouraged parents to notify principals if their child tested positive or was considered a close contact and asked them to continue to follow established protocols, stress the importance of social distancing, practice healthy hand hygiene and wear a mask.

Hynes said in the first week of December that lack of staffing was becoming an issue, resulting in Guggenheim Elementary School going remote for five days.

“What happens is it’s becoming increasingly difficult to cover certain classes or to cover classes in general,” Hynes said at a Dec. 8 school board meeting. “And we’re really finding out we don’t have the bodies to cover those classes. And I’m looking at total teacher absences and the quarantined staff members… Now it’s increasingly getting harder and harder.”

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