Port Jefferson High School Records 11 new COVID-19 cases in 2 weeks
Between 3/18 and 3/26, there have been 11 total positives from reported testing in the HS (6 staff members, 5 students). The MS has reported one positive case and the ES two positive cases (all in-person students) in the same period of time.
The district’s Director of Health, Physical Education, Athletics and Nursing, Mr. Adam Sherrard, wrote in an email to us that the exact location(s) of transmission for the 11 HS cases cannot be pinpointed due to multiple locations where those infected interacted with each other.
“Most of the staff members who tested positive share an office, but they also socialize outside of work," he stated. "Some of the staff members who recently tested positive also were exposed to family members who tested positive. They were on quarantine when they tested positive."
As for the students: "The majority of the positive student cases are all on one sports team, but they also sit near each other in classes and during lunch. They also socialize outside of school and were together socially within days of the students testing positive.”
Through contact tracing procedures, the district identifies close contacts—those who come within six feet of a contagious case for more than ten minutes—to be quarantined. Even with contact tracing in place, the district has stated that they cannot determine with 100% certainty whether cases are caused by external or internal transmission.
The community is notified of case count updates via weekly Superintendent emails.
By Peggy Yin
CDC Updates Safety Guidelines for Schools
Two weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released revised guidelines for school Covid safety protocol. In schools with low transmission, the distance requirement was shortened to 3 feet from the previous 6. However, they still recommend that “in areas of high community transmission...high school students should be 6 feet apart if cohorting is not possible.” Additionally, they recommended for adults and students to remain 6 feet apart at all times because “several studies have found that transmission between staff is more common than transmission between students and staff, and among students”.
As for sports, athletes are expected to maintain 6 feet “to the greatest extent possible.”
The CDC stressed that for any of the new measures to be effective, schools must continue to be diligent and consistent in mask wearing, distancing, cleaning, tracing, testing, and vaccinations. For schools like Port Jeff who have resumed in-person attendance, “universal and correct use of masks should be required” and “physical distancing should be maximized to the greatest extent possible.”
By Viviane Kim
Youth Ages 16+ Eligible for Vaccination Next Week
Governor Cuomo announced that he plans to open up vaccine access to those 16 and up beginning Tuesday, April 6 at 8 am.
This news comes at a critical time: Suffolk County is the 17th worst county in the entire country for confirmed COVID case count and 16th for COVID deaths. The county is also currently at the second-highest level ("very high risk") of the 5-level risk scale.
Out of the three vaccines available in the US, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently authorized for use on 16- and 17-year-olds (under Emergency Use Authorization, or EUA). Those ages 18 and up will be eligible for all three.
Pfizer-BioNTech also reported positive results in their phase 3 vaccine trials for youth ages 12-15, stating that for that age group, their vaccine “demonstrated 100% efficacy and robust antibody responses.” They are looking to submit this data to the FDA for EUA.
For more information (including how to schedule an appointment), check out this article on “The Vax Scene.”
By Peggy Yin
NCAA Women’s Weight Rooms
Recently, the National Collegiate Athletes Association (NCAA) was called out for clear inequalities between the equipment provided for the men’s and women’s teams. A tik tok created by Sedona Prince, a basketball player for Oregon University, showed the stark difference between the two weight rooms. The men were provided with a room full of weights and other equipment, while the women were only given a small weight rack with a few yoga mats. According to Prince, the women’s teams were told that there was inadequate space for a weight room the size of the men’s. However, Prince disproved this theory as she showed a large empty space next to their practice court that could have easily housed a sufficient weight room. On Saturday the 20th, the women’s teams woke up to a formal apology from the NCAA and a new weight room equivalent to the men's.
This was not the only difference between treatment of the different teams—for example, the NCAA has also been accused of providing better food for the men. Along with this, at the women's college basketball tournament in San Antonio, the women’s merch bags are clearly much smaller than the men’s.
Coaches, players, and fans alike were all very displeased with these inequalities. The NCAA’s vice president of women’s basketball stated that the organization “fell short” when preparing for the event, which some feel is a vast understatement.
By Abbie Blake
Also in the News…
- Two Anti-asian shootings were perpetrated in Atlanta by the same man.
- A massive cargo ship got stuck, then unstuck, in the Suez Canal, wreaking havoc on global trade markets.