Staff at a Bronx elementary school are worried sick since the city told a teacher last week that she had tested positive for COVID-19 in random testing at her school. But she wasn’t in school and didn’t take the test, sources told The Post.
On Jan 5, a middle-school teacher at PS/MS 20 in Norwood received a call from NYC health personnel that she was infected based on testing in her school two days earlier.
But the teacher had been working all-remotely — and had not set foot in the school since Nov. 17, records show.
Principal Carla Ling emailed Superintendent Maribel Hulla on Jan. 7 asking officials to determine who the positive test result belonged to.
“Please assist in identifying the individual that is positive,” Ling wrote.
The concern was sent higher up to Executive Superintendent Meisha Porter, staffers said.
About 45 employees and students at PS/MS 20 were randomly tested on Jan. 5.
“Obviously, there is someone positive in the building and we don’t know who it is,” a teacher said.
Colleagues who learned about the snafu “were afraid to go to work the next day,” fearing the infected staffer or student could be working or attending classes in the building — and unwittingly spread the virus.
“They were nervous, afraid and angry,” a staffer said, adding that some employees have family members at risk of serious complications from COVID-19.
But the DOE’s “Situation Room,” which monitors COVID-19 in schools, told administrators, “There’s nothing we can do,” the insider added.
The DOE denied any mix-up.
“The most recent round of testing at PS/MS 20 found zero positive cases, which was communicated to the school,” said spokesman Nathaniel Styer. “At no point were any of the results a positive nor was a patient notified that they were positive, and there is no quarantine necessary for the school.”
Styer refused to explain why Ling notified her superintendent about false positive.
The Webster Avenue building also houses a District 75 school for children with disabilities. Students and staff there might have been tested the same day as PS/MS 20.
Amid a citywide increase in COVID-19 infection among students and staff, the DOE has insisted it “would not hesitate” to close a school for at least 24 hours when a child or worker in the building tests positive — and quarantine those exposed to the infected person.
If two or more cases in different classrooms emerge, the DOE may shut the whole school for 10 days, a total quarantine recently reduced from 14 days.
But the DOE did not close down the Webster Avenue building.
Citywide, the DOE tallied 261 new COVID infections — 128 students and 133 staffers — on Friday. The total includes working or learning remotely and those tested in schools.
The DOE on Friday shut 49 additional buildings — some housing two or more schools — for at least 24 hours to investigate possible spread, or for a 10-day quarantine, bringing the total currently closed to 165.
Author : Susan Edelman