New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Dr. Laura Feijoo has disclosed she has tested positive for the coronavirus.

In an email letter to the New Rochelle School Community sent earlier today, Dr. Feijóo wrote;

“I regret to have to inform you that I, the Superintendent of Schools of the City School District of New Rochelle, have tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).”

I received my results at 10:20 a.m. I was tested on Monday, March 16, 2020. According to my doctor, I must be quarantined for two weeks from that date. President Moselhi will be quarantined too given her very close proximity to me through this crisis.”

Both President Moselhi and I will remain at home through the quarantine period and will continue to commit to the work we are doing in district.”

Dr. Feijóo said her symptoms are mild and she is recovering at home with her family.

She said she was disclosing the results because it impacts her and the BOE President who have been point people for many in the community and thus may have spread the virus.

Of particular concern is the school district leadership.

“I will ask my cabinet to use their best judgment in terms of being tested and self-quarantined,” she wrote. “The district’s work will continue and we remain committed to the success of each student.”

As she indicated, Dr. Feijóo, along with President Moselhi, had been actively engaged with the schools and the broader community in the coronavirus response.

Dr. Feijóo was personally involved in handing out chromebooks to students and families on March 12 as depicted in this New York Times article from the same day. Standing next her is Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Alex Marrero.

Neither educator is practicing social distancing or wearing gloves.

In a video on distance learning published on March 15th, Dr. Feijóo appears with Dr. Marrero in a pre-recorded asynchronous video on a split screen. Based on her previous videos is she is not in her office and the background suggests she was already is self-isolation with symptoms or having been tested or both. The word around the District is that Dr. Feijóo was not in New Rochelle because she had coronavirus.

Dr. Feijóo’s statement today did not say when she first became symptomatic or decided to speak with her doctor and get tested. She plans to take questions from reporters this afternoon via remote teleconferencing.

UPDATE 4:00 PM

Press Conference New Rochelle SI Dr. Laura Feijóo on testing + for coronavirus 2020 0321

  • Dr. Feijóo was symptomatic on 3/12. She was tested at ProHEALTH Urgent Care of Plainview on 3/16. Got results this morning (3/21), hopes to become immune so she cam get back to work.
  • Chromebook distribution was 3/11. WCDOH said no reason for those students to be tested.
  • She was in 3 schools on 3/12: Barnard Early Childhood Center, Isaac E. Young Middle School, Trinity Elementary School. She was in several classrooms but did not say which. She did have close contact with some people. The principals were informed and will notify their respective school communities and the employees.
  • In a letter to the Isaac school community, Interim Principal Tawanda Robinson stated that Dr. Feijóo was in the school at about 11:30 am and visited with Ms. Griffo, Mrs. Franzoni, Mr. Heyword, Mrs. Danielle, Mrs. Simoes, and Mrs. Delancey. All persons who came into contact with Dr. Feijóo that day need to self-quarantine until March 26.
  • She was in a roomful of teachers on 3/12, not sure if she was close to them.
  • 3/12 was a cabinet meeting so all cabinet members are self-isolating 3/12 to 3/26 as is Dr. Feijoo and BOE President Moselhi. Also her secretaries, individuals at 3 schools and Assistant facilities director. Greg Kern is running food distribution but is self-isolating.
  • No regret to resist calls to close schools, went with best information at the time. “Absolutely” stands by her decision, kids were safer in schools, cleaner, we know where they are, can feed them. Says she made the call to close schools due to high absenteeism (we asked about that very issue at 3/11 presser). Issac was at a point where they might have needed to close anyway.
  • There were two positive cases of Isaac E. Young Middle School staff none involving exposure to children or pedagogical staff. One was a staff member who was not symptomatic while school was in session but later developed symptoms after school was closed and then tested positive. The second staff member, a custodian, was in the school while symptomatic but after the school was closed. Rather than just notifying the other staff in the building at the time (custodial staff), the entire school community was notified of the second case but not the first case.
  • There is one known student who is positive but became symptomatic after school closed so will not say which school.
  • The policy is not to disclose known positives for anyone was not symptomatic while in school.
  • No decision yet on whether Buildings & Grounds crew is essential, need to come in.
  • Containment zone now “moot point” as restrictions now more severe statewide, “no bearing” since every in New York State has to stay home.
  • Her symptoms were chills, body aches, joint aches, eye pain, coughing, shortness of breath, feeling hot/cold, no fever. Thought that because no fever test would be negative.
  • Prescribed cough medicine and inhaler (maybe albuterol) has not been to pharmacy.
  • She has been isolating in her room, family bringing food to her door. Family has no symptoms. She has her own room, bathroom, dishes, glasses.
  • No idea as to the source for her getting COVID-19.

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