Riverhead High School and Riley Avenue Elementary School will move to remote-only instruction beginning tomorrow following onsite COVID-19 testing conducted in the school district today, Interim Superintendent Christine Tona said in a letter to the school community posted on the district website this evening.

Of the 173 tests administered at the high school today, 11 people tested positive for the virus, Tona said. The health department administered 186 tests at the high school on Friday and all were negative, she said.

Between on-site testing and community test results reported over the weekend, there were 13 new confirmed COVID cases in the district:

Riverhead High School- 4 staff members and 2 students
Riverhead Middle School- 2 staff members
Pulaski Street School- 2 staff members
Riley Avenue School- 2 staff members
Transportation- 1 staff member

Based on these test results, the district will move to remote-only instruction at the high school beginning tomorrow through Dec. 7. Riley Avenue will move to remote-only until Dec. 1.

The governor today announced that part of the Riverhead hamlet, Riverside and part of Flanders were in a micro-cluster yellow zone. The school district can continue in-person instruction in schools within the yellow zone — currently only Aquebogue Elementary School and Riley Avenue Elementary School are not in the yellow zone — if it tests 20% of its in-person enrollment. The county health department will continue testing on Monday, Nov. 30 at Pulaski Street School.

Roanoke Avenue, Phillips Avenue and Pulaski Street School are already on remote-only instruction until Nov. 30.

“If we do not test 20% of our in-person enrollment or if the positivity rate does not decrease below 3%, we will be forced to move to full-remote instruction for all schools in the ‘yellow zone’ until SCDHS approves us to return to in-person instruction,” Tona wrote.

“We want to continue to provide in-person instruction for our students. Please consider having your child tested,” she wrote.

While the testing has been conducted at the high school, faculty, staff and students from other schools were eligible to be tested there. Testing will continue tomorrow (Nov. 24) at Pulaski Street School. Parents may bring school-aged children to Pulaski for testing and the district will bus middle school students to Pulaski for testing with parental consent.

Free community testing is available at the county center in Riverside. Appointments are required. Call 845-553-8030 for an appointment.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.