The COVID Crisis Closes Another Harlem School Building

Another Harlem school building has closed temporarily after multiple coronavirus cases were reported in separate classrooms, according to the Department of Education.

P.S. 194 Countee Cullen will be closed for 24 hours starting Monday after the school reported positive COVID-19 tests in two different classrooms, according to the DOE’s map of active cases.

The department’s safety protocols force school buildings to close pending an investigation when cases are confirmed in separate classrooms within a week of each other. The classrooms themselves must remain closed for 14 days.

The classrooms at Countee Cullen will be closed until November 13th, 2020, according to the DOE’s map. Last week, the P.S. 197 building on East 135th Street was forced to close for one day due to cases in separate classrooms.

The school building will also serve as a polling site for Tuesday’s General Election, but a DOE spokesperson said that Monday’s closure will not have any effect on voting Tuesday.

All polling sites in schools will be disinfected Monday night before voting, and all students and staff will work remotely Tuesday, meaning no one who tested positive will be in the school building, the spokesperson said.

Harlem is experiencing an increase in coronavirus rates, with city data released last week showing that six of the neighborhood’s eight ZIP codes saw their positivity rates rise over a recent four-week stretch, compared to the previous such period.

City Councilmember Mark Levine, who represents parts of West Harlem, called the trend “extremely worrisome,” given that cases are rising before winter weather has fully pushed New Yorkers back indoors.

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