Mamaroneck High School Shuts Down for Two Days due to Lack of Staff


Photo Courtesy of @MamaroneckPublicSchools on Facebook

Mamaroneck High School students work from home.

Caitlyn Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief

On Wednesday, November 13th, Mamaroneck High School announced all classes would be held virtually for the following two days. School administration cited a lack of staff members stemming from two active student COVID cases. MHS Principal, Elizabeth Clain stated, “The decision to go remote for two days was based on our need to come up with a plan to be able to supervise classes when teachers are Zooming in from home.” The plan referred to has now been implemented, but Clain makes clear that “Should we have another positive case that leads to a widespread quarantine of teachers, we may need to shut down again.” 

As for the two active student COVID cases, all direct contacts were immediately notified when the cases were confirmed with the district and were then sent into a two-week quarantine period. The district defines “direct contact” as contact with an infected person for a prolonged period of time. One would only be a direct contact if they had spent over twenty minutes in a classroom with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. This means all teachers and classmates of the positive students qualify as direct contacts and therefore must quarantine for two weeks.

 At the time of the announcement, the school had reported three total positive COVID cases among students: two freshmen and one junior. The first positive case, a freshman, was reported on October 29 with the student last being in the building on October 23. This week, at the time of the shutdown, quarantines relating to that case had concluded. The second positive case, also a freshman, was reported on November 10th, and the third, a junior, was reported on November 11th along with the shutdown.

The quarantines stemming from these cases have had a considerable effect on staff numbers present at the high school, as a single case can affect several classes. For the second freshman who tested positive, the school reported in an email sent to students’ families that “approximately 35 students, teachers and other adults who came in direct contact with the student” were sent to quarantine. With the combined loss of staff from the multiple cases, the school was unable to run in-person classes.  

While many knew the school would shut down at some point, it was still quite surprising for both students and staff alike. Peter Greene, a Global 10 and AP European History teacher at MHS, commented, “Obviously it was very sudden, but the MHS staff is pretty quick to adjust.” He went on to reflect on how he’s had to adapt in his own classroom saying, “Personally, I struggle with all this uncertainty and instability, but I’m trying to make the best of it with innovating some of the ways I teach.”

As for hybrid students who have also had to acclimate to days spent fully at home, many are finding it hard to maintain focus in their classes. Daniella Uvaldo (‘22) points out how “there are so many more distractions” when learning from home, and that she’s “even almost fallen asleep in some of [her] classes.” However, in the end, Uvaldo emphasizes that “the safety of our teachers and other students is the most important.”

MHS will reopen on Monday, November 16, to the normal hybrid schedule after determining if there will be enough teachers to conduct in-person classes. However, if more teachers have to quarantine, this may change. Clain urges students to continue being cautious in their lives outside of school by wearing masks when in public and not socializing indoors. The school will continue to follow New York State health guidelines while keeping students in-person as much as possible.