HARLEM, NY — Staff members at two public schools in Harlem have tested positive for the coronavirus, the city announced Tuesday, less than a week before students are set to return for in-person classes.
One case each was confirmed at P.S. 161 Pedro Albizu Campos on West 133rd Street, and at Esperanza Preparatory Academy on East 109th Street.
Citywide, 56 schools have registered at least one positive COVID-19 case, the Department of Education said Tuesday, according to testing data starting Sept. 8, when staff returned to school buildings to prepare for the school year, through Monday, Sept. 14.
Only two schools, PS 811X in the Bronx and P.S. 139 in Brooklyn, had two separate suspected cases, prompting automatic 24-hour closures. All other school buildings are staying open, as teachers prepare for students to return Sept. 21.
The disclosure came two days after officials revealed the positive case count without telling parents where the exact schools were.
The city had tested 17,000 school employees through Monday, with a positivity rate of .32 percent, the DOE said. The city will start mandatory, monthly random testing at each school starting in October.
DOE protocol does not automatically close down a school if one coronavirus case is detected, though staff have the option to work from home while contact tracing is completed.
The city's reopening plan continues to draw criticism from teachers around the city who say it does not do enough to guarantee their safety. Staff at some schools have staged protests outside their buildings, demanding improved ventilation and increased testing.
Patch reporter Matt Troutman contributed.