An 8th grader held a birthday party with four classmates from her Bronx school before testing positive for COVID-19 — raising fears of a “super-spreader” event, The Post has learned.
The party, which took place inside a small apartment, featured a “cake fight” with girls smearing icing on each other’s faces, the kids told staffers at PS/S 20 in Norwood.
“She blew out the candles,” one said. “They were not social distancing, and nobody was wearing masks.”
The birthday girl, 13, did not come to school on Monday because she felt ill.
On Wednesday morning, the mom told the school that her daughter had tested positive.
“She’s very sick,” with a fever, chills, chest pain, a sore throat and rashes, the insider said.
The school immediately sent the students in the same class to the isolation room to wait for parents to pick them up. The students were told to quarantine for 14 days.
But the girl’s four teachers were not informed until the end of the day — after teaching all their other classes — because administrators could not find substitutes to cover for them immediately, insiders said.
The school remained open through Friday.
Staffers are worried because the four girls who went to the party are in two classrooms other than the birthday girl’s — so they possibly could have contaminated more classmates and teachers.
But while their parents were notified, the four girls either haven’t been tested for the coronavirus, or the results were not yet available.
One girl’s mother told the school she would take her daughter for a test “whenever I can get off work.”
The Department of Education’s “Situation Room” — a multi-agency team that handles all reports of COVID-19-positive teachers and students — should have extended the quarantine to the four girls and their close contacts, staffers contend.
“At the end of the day, our safety is not a priority,” one said.
DOE protocol includes quarantining only “close contacts,” said DOE spokesman Nathaniel Styer.
“A teacher of a close contact would not be considered a close contact themselves, because they have not directly contacted the positive case. We are looking into the details of this situation and will take any further action necessary.”
Under DOE protocol, one confirmed case requires only the closure of that classroom and a 14-day quarantine of the students and staff in contact with the infected person.
With at least two cases in different classrooms, the building closes for 14 days and converts to remote instruction.
That happened Thursday at PS 24 in Riverdale, after two students tested positive, Principal Steven Schwartz told parents in a Zoom call.
Since Sept. 14, the DOE has closed 440 classrooms, 35 buildings for 24 hours, and 13 buildings for 14 days. On Thursday, 192 classrooms and 11 buildings were closed.
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