Nov. 16, 2021 By Allie Griffin
A private Greek Orthodox school in Astoria closed its buildings for the week on Monday after one staff member and two students tested positive for COVID-19.
Saint Demetrios School — which includes a high school, middle and elementary school — has switched to remote learning for all students through Friday.
School administrators decided to go remote after a teacher at the high school and two students in the elementary school tested positive for COVID-19, assistant principal of the high school, Helen Karagiorous, told the Queens Post Monday.
Administrators were alerted of the positive test results on Sunday and decided against holding in-person classes the following day as “a precaution,” Karagiorous said.
The teacher at the high school — who was not vaccinated — had already been out of school for about a week, the assistant principal said.
Mask-wearing is required inside the school buildings. However, teachers are not mandated to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Karagiorous said the school “highly suggests” vaccinations for its staff members, but doesn’t require it. She added that roughly 80 percent of school staff have been vaccinated.
Both school campuses, at 22-30 33rd St. and 30-03 30th Dr., are closed for the week.
Saint Demetrios plans to reopen for in-person learning Monday after the school buildings are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
All students and staff will need to get tested for COVID-19 — and have a negative result — before returning to school Monday, Karagiorous said.
The three new cases at the school bring its total COVID-19 case count to six since Sept. 13, according to city data. The school has approximately 650 students and staff combined.
The private school is the second school in Astoria to close due to COVID-19 cases in the past week.
Last Wednesday, the DOE shuttered P.S. 166 The Henry Gradstein School after 25 positive cases were reported in a seven-day period. Classes at the school are also being held remotely through the end of the week.
There have been 37 total positive cases among the 975 school members — both students and staff — at P.S. 166 since Sept. 13, according to city data.