45 teachers at one school call out over COVID-19 fears

CONNETQUOT, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — Teachers in the Connetquot School District on Long Island, New York say they feel unsafe after a number of people tested positive for coronavirus and they were told to quarantine for just two days.

Teachers’ union president Tony Felicio tells WCBS 880 the high school recently had seven positive cases and the teachers who came into contact with those infected were told they only needed to quarantine for 48 hours.

“I'm trying to get clarification, which no one seems to able to give me as to where this 48-hour number came from because I don't see anywhere in the protocol,” Felicio said.

He says teachers feel like nobody cares about their health or well-being.

“There’s no empathy that comes from the superintendent. The teachers literally feel they’re on an island by themselves,” he said.

Because of the virus, 45 teachers called out of work last week.

“We had to take it into our own individual hands, ‘I’m going to protect myself, the district isn’t protecting me,’” Felicio said.

He adds that asking teachers to come back to work after just 48 hours is reckless.

“One of the teachers in the district… could come back to work, decide to go get tested himself, comes back positive,” he said.

The district's spokesperson says they go above and beyond to keep students and staff safe and the call outs caused a significant disruption to the learning process of the students.

Felicio says teachers don’t want to harm their student’s noting they are “just very scared.”

This isn’t the first time teachers had had issues with the school district.

This is not the first time the teachers and district have clashed over the handling of COVID cases. At the beginning of the month, it was revealed that a student who tested positive for the virus in the middle school district had come into direct contact with six teachers. While the state has said that anyone who may have come into contact with the virus must quarantine for 14 days, the school had told the teachers to return to the classroom.

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