A New York City public school has closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak, making it the second school closure this week. The Village Academy, located in Far Rockaway, Queens, is being closed starting Thursday, November 11th; students and faculty will be able to return on Monday, November 22nd.
Chalkbeat first reported the closure.
According to the state's school COVID data, 12 Village Academy students and one staff member have tested positive for COVID, November 4th-10th, and there have been 17 student cases and two staff cases between October 28th and November 10th. The school currently has the highest new cases per 1,000 out of all New York City schools.
This is the third school closure of the 2021-2022 school year; on Tuesday, the P.S. 166 Henry Gradstein in Queens was closed for 10 days, while the Horan School in East Harlem was closed in September after two dozen staffers tested positive.
"We do not hesitate to take action to keep school communities safe and our multi-layered approach to safety has kept our positivity rate extremely low at 0.19 percent," Department of Education spokesperson Nathaniel Styer said in a statement. "All staff at DOE are vaccinated and all students at Village Academy have access to a device to ensure live, continuous learning."
The city changed its threshold for closing schools: Last year, if two to four COVID cases were due to in-school transmission, the school would close; now, there's a shut down if there's "widespread transmission."
Last year, a teacher in the M.S. Brian Piccolo school building lamented the Brutalist design by Victor Lundy, expressing concerns for the school reopening, "Of all the buildings to go to, they decide to go to a building that was built in 1973 by a modernist architect, and his intent was to have no windows that would distract [students]. That building is a death trap, as far as ventilation."