Bridgehampton Copes With Flurry Of COVID-19 Cases

The Bridgehampton School. Michael Heller photo

The Bridgehampton School, which currently has a total enrollment of only 211 students, has been dealing with a growing number of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

Since students returned from the Christmas break on January 4, 10 students and one staff member have tested positive for the disease, according to Principal Michael Miller.

Those testing positive have come from all grade levels, Mr. Miller said. Bridgehampton has been educating elementary students on campus as much as possible this year and instituted a hybrid model for secondary students after the return from vacation.

As it does for all positive COVID-19 test, the district sent an email home to parents informing them of the situation and whether any additional steps need to be taken such as quarantining a class of grade school students or requiring an infected student to remain home.

Superintendent Robert Hauser said that while the situation make look out of control, he said most of the infected students come from a group of families who live in the same house.

“There are a number of elementary and secondary students living in that house,” he said, with many of those students testing positive.

Bridgehampton, like other schools, reports cases to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services and conducts contact tracing to determine how widespread the disease is.

“When one student or a parent tests positive in that house, it causes us to start the contact tracing procedure,” Mr. Hauser said.

He said at this time, the district is not expecting it will have to close its doors to in-person education, but that could change if there is a spike, and especially if that spike affects teachers and substitute teachers.

All in all, Mr. Hauser said he believed schools, with cleaning protocols in place, are relatively safe. “Most districts on Long Island are starting to see evidence that if you wear face masks and practicing social distancing, the disease is not being spread at school,” he said.