NEW ROCHELLE, NY — For the second time in less than a week, a school location used for food distribution has been shut down after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus.
The City School District of New Rochelle will not be serving food today after a kitchen worker tested positive for COVID-19, Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijóo announced early Wednesday morning.
“In accordance with the Westchester County Department of Health we will dispose of all the remaining food that has been prepared in the kitchen,” said Feijóo. “We will perform a thorough cleaning and will acquire new food.”
UPDATE 5:46 PM: Feijóo issued a statement, based on updated guidance from the Westchester County Health Department’s Bureau of Public Health Protection, the food in the kitchen did not have to be thrown away.
On April 1st, Christopher Columbus Elementary School Principal Michael Galland learned he had tested positive. A letter to the Columbus school community, said Galland would remain home for the next few weeks. Despite this, on April 7th, Galland led a teacher and staff parade through the West End of New Rochelle. He appeared to be in good spirits, waving to the crowds and calling out to parade watchers.
Feijóo said this morning kitchen staff will be rotated so that no one who worked in the kitchen during the last week will be there. Feijóo did not address how many kitchen workers or distribution workers were impacted and whether they are on a 14-day quarantine.
UPDATE 5:46 PM: Feijóo has now issued a second statement, thirty-five people who were potentially exposed were instructed to self-quarantine for two weeks.
UPDATE 6:46 PM Feijóo has now issued a third statement, thirty-five others who were potentially exposed to the employee who tested positive.
UPDATE 6:46 PM Feijóo has now issued a fourth statement, the employees – other than the one who tested positive – may return to work.
In the exact scenario Talk of the Sound warned about in a scathing assessment of the New Rochelle school district food distribution operation, first delivered on March 17th and published on March 23rd, the food preparation at New Rochelle High School site is now shut down, all workers who worked with employee who tested positive over the past week are on 14-day quarantine. Although Feijóo did not say so, all impacted workers are now unavailable for at least two weeks, more for those who subsequently test positive for the virus.
Food distribution is scheduled to resume as normal tomorrow after cleaning crews complete disinfecting the building, according to a statement issued by Feijóo.
“We will continue to take the same precautions and follow the extensive sanitary practices that we have exercised throughout this worldwide crisis,” she said.
Last month, we wrote:
“The fundamental predicate for the entire food distribution operation by the City School District of New Rochelle in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic is that no worker or client is infectious. Best practices are not followed, no medical professionals/sanitarians are on site at any location and we assess it is highly likely that one or more sites will be lost because a worker or client at a facility tests positive and the site will be shut down.”
“In short, the food distribution locations are set up to be a perfect delivery system for mass infection of coronavirus within the New Rochelle community.”
Food will be distributed by the District’s community partners at two main locations, 95 Lincoln WestCOP and 345 Main Street, New Rochelle.
“Although they may not be equipped to handle the surge that will likely result from the district’s closing of the kitchen today, they may be able to accommodate some who are in need.,” said Feijóo.
“We are extremely troubled about not being able to provide food for the day.”
Any families in crisis as a result of the one-day shut down is asked to call the District’s WestCOP at (914) 636-3050 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
UPDATE: Food distribution continued today even after the New Rochelle High School kitchen was temporarily closed by a COVID-19 case. ShopRite donated pasta, sauce, cereal, water, granola bars, bread and other non-perishable items to the WestCOP food distribution site at 95 Lincoln Ave. A second delivery is expected tomorrow.