The Coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, taking its toll on school staff and educators.
Two more deaths were added to the toll of DOE employees lost to COVID since March. The city Department of Education has now lost 81 employees. Some argue that the total is actually 96, because the DOE tally does not include the loss of 14 school safety agents on the NYPD payroll and a school nurse on the city health department payroll.
As reported by the NY Post, the two recent deaths include a public-school teacher and a school secretary. Their schools and identities were not disclosed, but officials did say that the employees had been granted medical accommodations, and did not work in-person since March. “As the City fights hard to beat back a second wave and administer as many vaccines to educators as possible, it is heartbreaking that we continue to experience the loss of members of our school communities,” said DOE spokeswoman Miranda Barbot, in a statement.
NYC students and school staff testing positive for COVID-19 has now passed 10,000. On Friday, the DOE’s online COVID case map added another 155 infections — 75 students and 82 staffers. Since Sept. 14, when the public schools opened, the tally is now up to 10,410 positive cases. That figure includes students and staff who attend remotely and those who come in-person, at least part-time. School buildings “continue to be safer than other places in the city,” the DOE said.
The DOE continues implementing its in-school testing program, which is supposed to test 20 percent of students and staff in all schools each week. On Thursday, testers went to 158 schools, and conducted 6,567 tests – 55 of the students and staff had positive test results. Since October 9, the positivity rate has ranged from .33 percent in Manhattan to .67 percent in The Bronx, as per the NY Post.
Public Middle Schools and high schools are closed for in-person sessions and are all remote. Elementary schools and District 75 schools for children with disabilities are open, at least part-time, for those who opt for in-person classes. As of Friday, a total 1,194 DOE classrooms and 321 buildings, were temporarily closed to thwart the spread of COVID.
Positivity rates continue to increase throughout NYC — reaching 4,645 on Saturday. Mayor de Blasio tweeted saying the city’s COVID-19 test positivity rate on a seven-day average reached 8.6 percent on Saturday. On Friday alone, there were 157 COVID-19 deaths in New York State, which included 46 deaths in NYC.