UWS Parents ‘Freaking Out’ After Hundreds of Students from P.S. 87 Sent Home to Quarantine

By Fernanda Martinez

Hundreds of students at PS87 William Sherman, on 78th between Columbus and Amsterdam, were forced into quarantine after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19, leaving parents scrambling to find alternative accommodations.

After the staff member tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, the UWS school sent at least 10 classes—ranging from Pre-K to 4th grade—into a week-long quarantine, according to a parent and the New York Post.

The children, who must remain inside their homes, are expected to continue attending classes through remote learning.

A concerned parent, who asked to remain anonymous in order to protect their privacy, told the Rag that families “are freaking out,” as at least five days out of school could amount to hundreds of dollars in childcare, not including “the many thousands of dollars we are all losing for afterschool programs this week.”

Moreover, parents are confused as to how the positive result of a single teacher could result in the closure of almost half the school. According to NYCHealth, the UWS has a Covid-19 positivity rate of less than 1%. A new city policy says that students don’t have to quarantine if they’re masked and socially distanced from another student who tests positive for Covid-19. But that rule doesn’t apply to contact with adults who test positive.

On Tuesday, Principal Monica Berry sent an email update to parents. “While there was exposure in multiple classes, there is only one active case of Covid-19 in the building,” she wrote.

A Department of Education rep told the Post “The safety of our students and staff is our first priority, and our quarantine guidance aligns with the CDC’s to keep our schools healthy and our kids in school.”

Principal Berry also explained that the school is following CDC guidelines, which state that anyone within six feet of a Covid-positive adult should quarantine, regardless of mask usage. She also said that the school is working to establish accurate dates of exposure for each quarantined student. She did not respond to multiple attempts to contact her.

NEWS, SCHOOLS | 41 comments | permalink
    1. Estes Kefauver says:

      Schools are free to vary from CDC guidelines. It is far past the time to move on and live with this virus.

      • chuck d says:

        why? because you said so?

      • Megan says:

        I’m pretty sure the 700k people who have passed away would disagree. What a tasteless comment.

      • Don Kedick says:

        “move on and live with this virus” is a peculiar choice of words, because what happens if we stop taking precautions is exactly the opposite.

      • Bella Abzug's Baby Mama says:

        “Time to live with this virus.”

        Basically what Trump and co. imposed upon us – a herd immunity strategy without informed consent.

        A failed approach that will be studied for generations.

      • LivesOnUWS says:

        You can thank that herd immunity approach for the current Delta COVID-19 variant killing unvaccinated people and causing breakthrough infections.

        • Don says:

          All of you disparaging Estes’ correct comment are bootlicking sheep. Covid is never going away. We will have to learn to live with it. Get your vaccine (you’ll be getting a shot every year, I bet) and get on with life.

          • Don Kedick says:

            Not sure why you think “getting on with life” is somehow at odds with taking basic safety precautions. We want to have a covid-safe world AND live in it. You, apparently, want neither.

          • mkmuws says:

            The ongoing evolution of “living with it” is science-guided, not over when random individual strangers don’t feel like dealing with it anymore.

    2. Young Sally says:

      Delta is highly transmissible and often frequently asymptomatic in both the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. While it is always a judgment call on who to quarantine, cases of delta are likely underreported because we are looking at a potential host population that includes the vaccinated and unvaccinated – both of which can be transmission vectors even if asymptomatic.

    3. SadforUWS says:

      The UWS is a cesspool of hysterical elites. I love it.

    4. CRL says:

      “Hundreds of dollars in childcare”: Please don’t tell me that you’re going to pay someone else to come in your home if your children have been sent home because of a Covid exposure! That’s simply unethical. You need to take care of the kids until you get that negative PCR…or pay for the health care of anyone you employ to make sure that they have adequate coverage before asking them to take care of your children. This isn’t a “call the sitter” kind of situation.

      • lucy says:

        agree CRL i was confused by the line–as at least five days out of school could amount to hundreds of dollars in childcare, not including “the many thousands of dollars we are all losing for afterschool programs this week.” Is the parent spending hundreds in childcare and then thousands for afterschool programs in a week? And you either have a sitter or you don’t. There is noone you can phone to be your temp here.

      • Josh says:

        CRL, it is much more unethical than that. If your child was potentially exposed at school, THE PARENTS SHOULD BE QUARANTINING AS WELL! So there should be no cost for childcare because no one should be coming in contact with the child or parents.

    5. Marky says:

      “A concerned parent, who asked to remain anonymous in order to protect their privacy, told the Rag that families “are freaking out,” as at least five days out of school could amount to hundreds of dollars in childcare, not including “the many thousands of dollars we are all losing for afterschool programs this week.'”

      hundreds of dollars in childcare

      the many thousands of dollars we are all losing for afterschool programs this week.


      • FedUpPedestrian says:

        Jeeze Louise! Just because one parent made a ridiculous comment, or the paper chose to
        highlight that comment, doesn’t mean all parents feel this way or are elite. I’m a ps87 parent and my child went home this week. Like many parents I know, we are just rolling with it. I got my child tested and he was negative. Am I happy that I have to home school for a week? No, but I am happy the school is taking precautions to keep everyone safe. People need to chill out and stop making assumptions about everyone else.

    6. End fossil fuels now says:

      I’m concerned that some of these children under quarantine may leave their homes and risk infecting the community. Also close contacts of these children should stay at home and not leave their apartments for the quarantine period. Vaccines and masks help mitigate the risks but exposure to an asymptomatic carrier can easily kill our most vulnerable community members.

      • nemo paradise says:

        It would be prudent to isolate all these children and their families/contacts to prevent further transmission. But, as you say, kids will be kids and may attempt to break quarantine, so an additional layer of protection will be needed.

        Since the city cannot realistically post guards/checkpoints at every restricted residence, it might be simpler and more efficient to keep the kids at school during the quarantine period. They can “camp out” on sleeping bags and continue their studies via remote learning — fund for them and safe for us. A win/win!

        • Josh says:

          These are elementary school students. None of them go anywhere without an adult. We are not talking about middle school or high school students.

        • Vince says:

          I can’t tell if you’re trolling or not. Are you seriously suggesting that we turn a public school into an internment camp?

      • Peter says:

        This is truly insane

    7. Erica says:

      The vast majority of us parents at the school are flummoxed as to why half the school has to quarantine for 10 days if everyone (including the teacher who has Covid) was masked and socially distanced during any exposure. Our children will have no chance of learning this year if they are forced to yo-yo between in person and remote learning. For example, they could test anyone who came in close contact. I truly hope they revise and change this senseless policy.

      • Josh says:

        Your kid was potentially exposed to Covid, and your concern is getting them out of your hair (thinly disguised as the quarantine period will so negatively impact their education)?

        • Fedupwithhysterics says:

          An elementary school kid possibly exposed to a Covid-positive adult is in less danger than a child put into a car for the drive to the Connecticut weekend house 😂.
          I’ve learned that many of my UWS neighbors lack the ability to accurately assess risk. If this was my kid I’d be rolling my eyes, doing school at home as required and then going to play outside because science suggests no problem with that.

    8. Ral says:

      Just test the kids exposed and family and get them back to school. This will go on for a long time.

    9. The school is right says:

      If parents are lamenting the fact that their children must briefly quarantine & do remote learning, then these parents have a bad case of “Covid happens to OTHER people.” This is a sad, mistaken, but common belief. As a parent, your primary job is to keep your kids safe above all else. If they have to do virtual school in order to achieve that, it is what it is. Why blame the school for striving to ensure no one dies???

      • Peter says:

        Children are far more likely to die in car crashes, drown or die from the flu than covid. This hysteria is not based on facts or science. Look up the stats yourselves. Elderly people and obese individuals with multiple pre existing conditions make up the majority of deaths. Do some research. And ask yourself who is benefitting from this. Big business and big pharma. Amazon stock dropped when states started to reopen.

        • The school is right says:

          OK, so Peter is a conspiracy theorist. Not worth entertaining that aspect of his comments. What I WILL entertain is his shoulder-shrug about the low risk of children dying from Covid. Please let me know your child’s name, Peter–if you have one–so I can tell him/her you’re content with risking their life in order to avoid staying home for a week or two.

          • nemo paradise says:

            I let my kids run all kinds of risks. That doesn’t mean I want them to die. Quite the opposite: I want them to live, not huddle in fear, or lose their childhood to some ninny’s hysteria.

            • Don Kedick says:

              I, too, only feel *really* alive when I’m risking death by preventable diseases. Without that, can you even call it living?

            • The school is right says:

              1) Thanks for resorting to name-calling.
              2) Let’s see if you still think this is “ninny’s hysteria” if your kid gets Covid.

        • Janice says:

          Yes, look up the science. They can get covid but more importantly they can spread it.
          CA has the right idea. elective remote learning will keep the population in school down and keep everyone calm till we can vaccinate all the kids.

    10. UWS Craig says:

      In the last year, over 20,000 children died. The leading cause of death was motor vehicle accidents, comprising over 4,000 deaths. Gun violence was second, with over 2,000 deaths. 200 deaths were in children who tested positive for COVID (fewer than 1% of childhood deaths last year were related to COVID)
      Kids should stay in school for their own safety. Those terrible traffic and gun violence deaths that kill kids – – they are happening to kids when they are not at school.

    11. Janice says:

      I never realized so many seemingly well educated individuals would be so misinformed.

    12. Wijmlet says:

      WHY are parents “freaking out”?

    13. Wijmlet says:

      as at least five days out of school could amount to hundreds of dollars in childcare, not including “the many thousands of dollars we are all losing for afterschool programs this week.”

    14. Mike UWS says:

      The reactive public-safety measures & covid hysteria is well past its best expiration date. The city’s present public relations, politics & ideological posturing, from Albany, the Oh!Calcutta cast & crew at NYCcouncil, to a thoroughly perverse & invidious city hall, has been on all fronts historically is as bizarre, vicious, alarmist, and gaslighting as ever. Looking fowared to either ‘moderate’ Eric Adams or Curtis Sliwa mayorality leading the NYC out of this dark age. Wishing us all well for year end of optimism!

      • David says:

        I went to P.S 87 SIXTY years ago, at a time when parents were not so given to “freaking out!” This is a viral infection, and like viruses of the past, it will undoubtedly be with us for some time, despite the vaccine. Let us dispense with the masks which, for the most part, are ridiculously ineffective. Let us dispense with the “social distancing,” which is impossible to maintain! Let us …….Yes, LET US…..get on with the business of living our lives, and not panicking like sheep!

        • Josh says:

          As a teacher, my goal is for students to leave my classroom capable of intelligent thought and having empathy for other humans around them. Sadly, I sometimes fail at this. Apparently, the system failed 60 years ago as well.