LAKE RONKONKOMA, NY — A Sweet 16 birthday party is believed to be connected to 10 Sachem High School North students testing positive for the coronavirus.
The school has been closed to in-person learning since Wednesday and it will remain that way until at least this Wednesday, Sachem schools Superintendent Christopher Pellettieri said in a letter to the community Monday evening.
"Our decision to temporarily suspend in-person instruction at Sachem North was prompted by a number of external factors, including the number of cases (currently at 11 confirmed, including one staff member), the rapid increase in case numbers in a short period of time and in direct consult with the Commissioner for the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, we collaboratively made the decision to keep our students at North on remote instruction out of an abundance of caution," he said.
The student cases are believed to be connected to an off-campus party held on the weekend of Sept. 25, Pellettieri said. Patch has confirmed the event was a Sweet 16 birthday party.
"It is our hope that the contact tracing process will be completed in the next day or so and that in-person instruction can resume at North on Wednesday, Oct. 7 barring any new developments," Pellettieri said.
There have also been four recent confirmed COVID-19 cases at Sachem High School East and four others at Seneca Middle School.
Unlike the ongoing tracing procedures at Sachem North, the contact tracing at those schools "were reviewed to the extent possible and it was determined that those cases did not impact our ability to safely continue with in-person instruction," Pellettieri said.
There have been COVID-19 cases reported at nearly 70 schools on Long Island since the start of the school year.