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Timothy Bolger

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.

First 2 Coronavirus Deaths on Long Island Reported in Suffolk

The first two people to die of coronavirus on Long Island were reported in Suffolk County on Monday as the pandemic continued to spread, officials said.

The development came as Nassau County had 109 people who tested positive for coronavirus, Suffolk had 74, there were 950 cases across New York State, and more than 3,700 cases nationwide as of Monday, officials said. There were 69 coronavirus deaths nationwide and seven in the Empire State.

“Today I’m unfortunately in the position to have to announce that we have now confirmed deaths form the COVID-19 virus in Suffolk County,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone told reporters in a conference call Monday afternoon.

The first was man in his 80s who was one of the first cases in the county and had been hospitalized in isolation at St. Catherine’s Hospital in Smithtown. The second was a man in 90s who was in isolation at Huntington Hospital.

Bellone noted that one of the people who have been diagnosed is a member of his own administration, Deputy County Executive Peter Scully, who is working from home while in quarantine. Bellone said the county exec himself was not symptomatic but Bellone is limiting his contact with other individuals out of an abundance of caution. 

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said his department is coordinating with the state, which is in the process of setting up a second drive-through coronavirus testing site at Jones Beach State Park. The site would be the second in New York State and the first on LI. Bellone said Suffolk is also exploring a mobile testing site and considering local county buildings that could possibly be converted into makeshift hospitals, if need be.

“We want to reduce the impact and reduce the deaths to the greatest extent as possible,” he said.

Related Story: All Eateries In Tri-State Area Will Be Take-Out Only As Of Monday Night To Prevent Coronavirus Spread; Gyms, Casinos, And Theaters Temporarily Closed

Related Story: All Long Island Schools Closed for 2 Weeks

All Long Island Schools Closed for 2 Weeks, LI Coronavirus Cases At 145

All Nassau and Suffolk county schools are closed for the next two weeks starting Monday as the number of coronavirus cases on Long Island rose to 145 amid the pandemic, officials announced Sunday.

Update: First 2 Coronavirus Deaths on Long Island Reported in Suffolk

Nassau had 98 cases and Suffolk had 47 as of Sunday afternoon, according to New York State officials, who reported the third coronavirus-related death in the state and cases statewide reached 729. Cases nationwide topped 3,000 amid the national emergency.

“There is evidence that the virus is already present in many communities we serve, and our efforts now must be aimed at preventing its spread,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “As part of our larger social distancing efforts, we believe that closing schools is the right thing to do at this time. While kids are home from school we encourage parents to continue to follow County Health Department guidance and practice social distancing and to wash hands frequently to help contain the spread of the virus.”

Officials said there are plans are being developed to provide childcare for essential service workers, such as police officers, firefighters, and healthcare providers. Plans are also being developed to continue meal programs for children who receive breakfast and lunch through their schools. And in the works are also plans for internet-based instruction to mitigate the disruption to education.

“While schools are closed for instruction, administrators and teachers will still have access to school buildings for local district planning, distance-based education purposes, temporary grab-and-go meal programs, and childcare issues,” Bellone said.

Bellone and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran made the call to shut schools after a string of local school districts had been canceling classes for days, sometimes weeks at a time whenever coronavirus patients were confirmed in the schools’ communities. The blanket school declaration for all LI schools increased pressure on New York City school leaders to follow suit. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo had been cautioning against the idea of school closures in the city, but came around to the idea Sunday, as long as it doesn’t mean medics and police will be stuck home without a babysitter. 

NY Sees First Coronavirus Death, Long Island Cases at 106

Blood sample tube positive with COVID-19 or novel coronavirus 2019 found in Wuhan, China

One hundred and six people tested positive for coronavirus on Long Island as of Saturday as the pandemic caused its first fatality in New York State, officials said.

Update: All Long Island Schools Closed for 2 Weeks, LI Coronavirus Cases At 145

Update: First 2 Coronavirus Deaths on Long Island Reported in Suffolk

The number of cases in Nassau County rose to 70 and another 244 people are in mandatory quarantine, county officials said. Suffolk’s cases rose to 37, including 104 in mandatory quarantine. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the first coronavirus fatality in the state was an 82-year-old New York City woman who had emphysema.

“If you are in quarantine, you are asked to stay in quarantine,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “Containment is the key to prev this from spreading. Community spread is the biggest danger right now.”

New York State cases reportedly increased to 524, 20 percent of whom are hospitalized, although Cuomo has repeatedly said that the number is likely higher than reality due to limited testing capacity, which is due to increase next week. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday and the number of cases nationwide topped 2,000, including at least 50 deaths.

Curran didn’t give a breakdown of the towns where the coronavirus patients live Saturday, although the majority have been in the Town of Hempstead. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said there are 14 in the Town of Southold, seven in the Town of Brookhaven, six in the Town of Huntington, four in the Town of Babylon, three in the Town of Smithtown, two in the Town of Islip, and one in the Town of East Hampton. 

Also Saturday, the governor said Jones Beach State Park is being considered as a possible location for a drive-through coronavirus testing site. Cuomo has said he’s keeping a close eye on the hospitalization rate, but the Nassau County Executive sought to allay fears locally.

“I am confident that we have the capacity to deal with this,” said Curran, noting that the county has 11 hospitals.

Related Story: Coronavirus School Closings on Long Island

Related Story: New Rules For Nursing Homes Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Related Story: Buses, Trains Getting Extra Clean To Avoid Coronavirus

Brentwood Woman Gets 13 Years For Sending Money To ISIS

vinas

A 30-year-old Brentwood woman was sentenced Friday to 13 years in federal prison for sending more than $150,000 to ISIS, the international terrorist organization based in Syria and Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert sentenced Zoobia Shahnaz at Central Islip federal court after Shahnaz pleaded guilty in 2018 to providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and attempting to travel to Syria to join ISIS.

“Today, the defendant learned the consequences of seeking to join ISIS and funneling thousands of dollars into the terrorist organization’s coffers,” said Richard P. Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “There is no higher priority of the Department of Justice and this office than protecting our country from those who support violent, hate-filled terrorist organizations.”

Prosecutors said the U.S. citizen fraudulently applied for more than a dozen credit cards that she used to purchase Bitcoin, then transferred the funds to shell entities in Pakistan, China and Turkey. The ultimate destination for the money was the Islamic State, according to investigators. 

Law enforcement questioned her in July 2017 when she tried to board a flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Islamabad, Pakistan with a multi-day layover in Istanbul, Turkey, which authorities said is a common point of entry for individuals travelling from Western countries to join ISIS in Syria.

She is the eighth person with Long Island ties implicated in a terror plot since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Bryant Neal Vinas of Patchogue, an al-Qaeda recruit-turned-informant, was released from jail in 2017.

Westbury native Samir Khan, the one-time editor of al-Qaeda’s magazine, was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. Mohammad Younis of Centereach pleaded guilty in 2011 to unwittingly providing $7,000 to Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square Bomber. And Elvis Redzepagic, of Commack, was arrested in 2018 for trying to join ISIS.

In addition, fellow Brentwood residents Marcos Alonso Zea and Justin Kaliebe were sentenced in 2016 to 25 years and 13 years in prison, respectively, for trying to join al-Qaeda. And Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, who grew up in Westbury, pledged allegiance to ISIS during the Orlando massacre.

Nassau, Suffolk Declare State of Emergency As Coronavirus Cases Hit 79

Nassau and Suffolk county leaders each declared a state of emergency as the number of people who tested positive for coronavirus on Long Island rose to 79 on Friday, officials said.

Update: NY Sees First Coronavirus Death, Long Island Cases at 106

The emergency declarations give government leaders the flexibility to respond to the crisis more quickly by, for example, awarding contracts to companies that can assist without having to go through the usual lengthy government contract procurement process.

“We have to curtail, to slow, to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who ordered the closure of county-run museums Friday, halted eviction orders carried out by the county sheriff, and announced that some non-essential county workers would not be required to come in starting Monday.

The developments came as the number of cases in New York State rose to 421 with 50 of those, of 12 percent, hospitalized and 18 in intensive care. Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted that he suspects thousands more people may have COVID-19 and were never diagnosed and expects confirmations to spike next week when the state’s test capacity increases to 6,000 per day. President Donald Trump also declared a national emergency on Friday afternoon.

“I understand fully the anxiety that people feel,” Cuomo said, noting that one of his daughters was in precautionary quarantine. “But the facts do not justify the fear.”

Eighty percent of cases self-resolve, he said. He and many other are most concerned with the virus spreading in nursing homes since seniors have the highest mortality rate of those diagnosed with COVD-19. 

The governor and others reiterated that the efforts to have workers stay home, cancel mass gatherings, and avoid community transmission are meant to protect vulnerable populations such as seniors and those with underlying health issues as well as not overwhelm the health system.

Related Story: New Rules For Nursing Homes Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Related Story: Coronavirus School Closings on Long Island

In Nassau, the 51 cases include 34 in the Town of Hempstead, 10 in the Town of North Hempstead, and four in the Town of Oyster Bay. Thirteen of those are hospitalized and many are improving, although two with underlying health issues are in critical condition.

In Suffolk, the 28 cases include 11 in the Town of Southold, five in the Town of Brookhaven, four in the Town of Huntington, three in the Town of Babylon, two each in the towns of Islip and Smithtown, and one in the Town of East Hampton.

“This is going to be with us,” Bellone said. “It is going to be important that we all work together and cooperate with one another.”

Curran said she was disappointed to hear of people still going to work while being sick despite repeated government warnings that people should telecommute if they feel under the weather. She added that despite the museum closures and widespread event cancellations, the parks are open for those with cabin fever setting in.

“Go get some fresh air,” she said.

Long Island Coronavirus Cases Rise To 61

Blood sample tube positive with COVID-19 or novel coronavirus 2019 found in Wuhan, China

The number of coronavirus cases on Long Island increased to 61, including 41 patients who tested positive in Nassau County and 20 in Suffolk County, New York State officials said Thursday.

Update: Long Island Coronavirus Cases Hit 79

The Nassau cases include 31 in the Town of Hempstead, six in the Town of North Hempstead, and three in the Town of Oyster Bay. Ten were hospitalized, one is in critical condition, and another is an 81-year-old woman who was in hospice at The Bristal Assisted Living at North Hills. The Suffolk cases included one in the Town of Huntington, one in the Town of Islip, two in the Town of Smithtown, four in the Town of Brookhaven, and eight in the Town of Southold. The Islip case was a West Islip elementary school teacher, school officials say.

“We will get through this, but we need your help,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who declared the virus an imminent threat to public health. “Containing community spread is the best thing we can do to protect ourselves.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone declared a state of emergency and Curran indicated that her next step was to do the same. Cases in New York State increased to 328 and cases nationwide topped 1,300, including 37 deaths. Fourteen percent of cases in New York resulted in hospitalizations. 

The news came day after the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic and President Donald Trump issued a 30-day ban on flights from Europe starting Friday.

In addition to the confirmed cases, Nassau also had 192 people in mandatory quarantine and 82 in precautionary quarantine. Suffolk had 49 in mandatory quarantine and 76 in precautionary quarantine.

Officials again urged the public to wash their hands, use hand sanitizer, stay home if sick, and advised seniors, those with compromised immune systems, and those with underlying health issues to avoid crowds. Bellone directed St. Patrick’s Day parades scheduled for this weekend to be postponed.

Steven Krieger, a principal at The Bristal Assisted Living at North Hills, said that the facility had already stepped up its cleaning before the diagnosis and those who came in contact with its coronavirus patient have been contacted.

“We need to remind the public we’re going to get through this,” Bellone said. “We will ultimately come out in a good way and that will be done through their help and their cooperation and listening to common sense advice to avoid spreading the illness.”

Related Story: Coronavirus School Closings on Long Island

Freeport Man’s Death Reclassified After Lawsuit Alleges Faulty Probe

Nassau County Police

The Nassau County Medical Examiner’s office is changing the cause of death of a Freeport man from suicide to “undetermined” to settle a lawsuit from the victim’s family who maintains he was murdered.

The family of 20-year-old Johmeik Simmons, who died of a single gunshot wound to the head while two other men were present in 2016, remains unconvinced that the college-bound former high school football star would take his own life and believes that Nassau police and medical examiners erred in concluding he took his own life. The settlement stopped short of the family’s goal of having authorities reclassify his death as a homicide. Authorities appear reluctant to reopen the investigation despite compelling findings of an independent probe  suggesting Simmons was slain.

“This matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties,” said Christine Geed, a spokeswoman for the county.

As the Press reported, Simmons was shot in the head Nov. 16, 2016, inside a house in Freeport. The two other males present told police that he pulled out a gun and shot himself, according to the lawsuit filed in Nassau court by Manhattan-based attorney Abe George. He was comatose for five days and died Nov. 20. 

The county medical examiner’s office declared his death a suicide the next day and Homicide Squad detectives closed the case in July 2017 after they were unable to find any leads supporting the family’s theory, the suit states.

The family hired a private investigator, ex-New York City police homicide detective Eddie Dowd, who raised numerous questions about the county’s conclusions. Among them was the fact that Simmons’ wound lacked the gunpowder residue, pattern, and angle typical of a close-range gunshot, “the gunshot wound being made to a part of the head that is atypical in cases of suicide,” and that he was shot on the right side of the head despite being left handed, according to the suit.

The county medical examiner’s autopsy report, which was included as evidence in the case, confirms the independent investigator’s review finding a lack of gunpowder residue, known as stippling.

“There is no evidence of barrel impression, soot, or stippling noted around the entrance wound,” the county medical examiner states in the autopsy report. 

Dr. Jonathan Arden, a forensic pathologist and former New York City medical examiner, also reviewed the crime scene photographs and issued a report for the family.

“Both the circumstances of the shooting and the features of the gunshot wound itself are inconsistent with this having been a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Dr. Arden wrote in his report. “The circumstances and the shooting scene strongly suggest that this gunshot wound was inflicted by another person.”

Nassau authorities remain noncommittal on whether they would reopen the investigation.

“The Nassau County Police Department expresses our sincere condolences to the family of Johmeik Simmons,” said Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, the chief Nassau police spokesman. “The Homicide Squad has conducted a full investigation into his death and the department stands behind their decision that there was no criminality involved.”

The Nassau County District Attorney’s office left the door open for a possible review.

“The death of Johmeik Simmons was a tragedy, and we express our deepest condolences to his family,” said Miriam Sholder, spokesoman for the Nassau DA’s office. “While the underlying evidence in this case has not changed, any additional evidence will be examined thoroughly by this office.” 

The victim’s mother maintains that suicide was highly unlikely for Simmons.

“My son would not kill himself,” Simmons’ mother and the plaintiff in the suit, Tihesha Climer, told WNBC New York, which first reported the story. “He had everything to live for. He’d just beaten cancer.”

Long Island Coronavirus Cases Reach 34

The number of people who tested positive for coronavirus on Long Island increased to 34 on Wednesday, including 28 cases in Nassau County — one of whom is in critical condition — and six in Suffolk County, officials said.

Update: Long Island Coronavirus Cases Rise To 61

The Nassau cases include 20 in the Town of Hempstead, three in the Town of Oyster Bay, and two in the Town of North Hempstead. The Suffolk cases include three Town of Brookhaven residents, a Town of Southold resident, and a man in his 80s in isolation at St. Catherine’s Hospital.

“It is believed that all of the cases here involve community transmission,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone told reporters Wednesday in Hauppauge. “We expect that number to continue to rise.”

The development came as the number of cases in New York State reached 212 and cases nationwide topped 1,000, including 31 deaths. The new LI total does not include an Uber driver from Queens who New York City officials said had driven around LI. The news came the same day as the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

“The more we test … the more cases we will have,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, urging the public to stay calm and practice good hygiene. “Panic and stress do not solve our problems.”

Curran said Nassau also has 79 people in precautionary quarantine, 153 in mandatory quarantine, and 10 tests pending.

Bellone said Suffolk also has eight individuals in mandatory quarantine, including one of the confirmed cases. The other seven are people who came in contact with the confirmed patients. Suffolk also has 72 individuals who recently traveled overseas under precautionary quarantine, although all have been screened and none are symptomatic.

Officials reminded the public to wash their hands thoroughly, use hand sanitizer, and stay home from work and contact a healthcare provider when sick. They also urged seniors and people with compromised immune systems to avoid crowds. 

Related Story: Coronavirus School Closings on Long Island

Coronavirus School Closings on Long Island

As the coronavirus outbreak prompts Long Island schools, colleges, and universities to begin cancelling classes, here are the latest closings in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

UPDATE: Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced Sunday, March 15, that all K-12 public and private schools in the county will be closed for two weeks starting Monday, March 16.

UPDATE: Suffolk County Steve Bellone announced Sunday, March 15, that all K-12 public and private schools in the county will be closed for two weeks starting Monday, March 16.

Update: All Long Island Schools Closed for 2 Weeks, LI Coronavirus Cases At 145

ADELPHI UNIVERSITY

Adelphi University canceled classes Wednesday through Friday and will transition to online classes after the conclusion of spring break next week.

“Out of an abundance of caution, executive and academic leadership have decided to cancel on-campus classes at Adelphi University’s main campus in Garden City, along with the Manhattan, Hudson Valley, and Suffolk Centers beginning Wednesday, March 11, 2020 through Sunday, March 22, 2020,” the university said. “Adelphi University will offer all classes in an online format beginning on Monday, March 23, 2020 until further notice.”

BABYLON SCHOOL DISTRICT

Babylon school officials canceled classes for four days.

“While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Babylon Schools, out of an abundance of
caution we have decided to close schools effective Monday, March 16th through Thursday,
March 19th for all students and staff, therefore using our allowance of 4 unused snow days
without affecting any upcoming vacation periods at this given time,” the district said. “We plan for schools to re-open on Friday, March 20th, 2020 for all students and staff.”

BELLMORE-MERRICK CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

Bellmore-Merrick school officials canceled classes for two days.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the decision has been made for the Bellmore-Merrick CHSD to be closed on Monday, March 16, 2020 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020,” the district said.

BRENTWOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT

Brentwood school officials canceled classes Friday, March 13 to clean its buildings.

“The Brentwood School District has been made aware of several potential cases of the coronavirus within the community,” the district said. “We have been in contact with the Suffolk County Department of Health and as of right now there are no confirmed cases in the Brentwood School Community. However, out of an overabundance of concern for the children and staff members of the school community, the Brentwood Board of Education and I will be closing all school’s tomorrow, Friday, March 13, 2020. As of now, schools will be open on Monday, March 16, 2020.”

CENTRAL ISLIP SCHOOL DISTRICT

Central Islip school officials canceled classes on Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17.

“Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our school district, it is out of an abundance of caution and concern for students and staff members of our community, that schools will be closed to faculty and staff, as well as to all after-school activities … so our buildings and grounds department can conduct a comprehensive deep cleaning of all high-contact surfaces in our buildings,” the district said.

COLLEGE AT OLD WESTBURY

SUNY College at Old Westbury cancelled classes Wednesday, March 11, and is transitioning to online-only classes.

“During the remainder of this week and next, the college is finalizing plans with faculty for a likely move to alternate modes of instructional delivery starting on Monday, March 23,” the college said in a statement. “Students will hear from their course instructors next week with details on how each individual course will take place.”

COMMACK SCHOOL DISTRICT

Commack school officials canceled classes for two weeks.

“The Commack School District has made a determination to close schools for a two-week period,” the district said. “Based on guidance from county, state, and federal offices, this time period of limited social contact may help deter the spread of COVID-19.”

CONNETQUOT CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

Connetquot school officials canceled classes on Monday, March 16.

“The Connetquot Central School District has not been made aware of any positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) within the Connetquot community,” Superintendent of Schools Lynda G. Adams told parents in an email. “Due to the continued guidance from the CDC, as well as the New York State and Suffolk County Departments of Health, Connetquot Schools will remain open. However, the district has made the following operational changes: Schools will be closed for students on Monday, March 16, 2020 for a Superintendent’s Conference Day for staff. Teachers will prepare educational opportunities for our students to be worked on independently, in order to be proactive and prepared, if we are forced to close due to confirmed cases of COVID-19. Schools will be open for students on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.”

EAST WOODS SCHOOL

East Woods School, a private school in Glen Cove, was closed Tuesday, March 10. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said this was in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

FARMINGDALE STATE COLLEGE

Farmingdale State College canceled classes after 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 11 through Saturday, March 14, and made classes remote for the rest of the spring.

“Classes at all SUNY colleges will be taught online, wherever possible, for the remainder of the semester,” the college said in a statement.

FRANKLIN SQUARE SCHOOL DISTRICT

Franklin Square school officials canceled classes Friday, March 13.

“A staff member at the Washington Street School informed us that they were directed to take the COVID-19 test when a close relative, who they had direct contact with, tested positive,” the district said. “Those results are pending. Out of an abundance of caution and after a discussion with the Nassau County Department of Health, we have decided to close the district on Friday, March 13, 2020. While we have been sanitizing all spaces daily, tomorrow our custodians and bus drivers will perform a deep cleaning in all school buildings and buses. We anticipate opening all buildings on Monday, March 16, 2020.”

FRIENDS ACADEMY

The Locust Valley-based private school indicated on its website that it is closed Tuesday. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said this was in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“While the physical Friends Academy campus will remain closed through Friday, March 13, our virtual school opens Wednesday, March 11 with all students PreK-12th grade,” the school said.

GLEN COVE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT

Glen Cove City School District officials canceled classes Tuesday, March 10.

“We have just learned that a contract transportation employee has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus,” Glen Cove Schools Superintendent Maria Rianna said in a statement. “As a result, we are working with the Nassau County Department of Health to insure the health and safety of all our students and staff. As a precaution, will be closing schools tomorrow, March 10th, with additional information forthcoming. The parents and/or guardians of the students involved have been notified and we will continue to update all accordingly.”

Schools reopened Wednesday, March 11.

“The families of the students on those routes were contacted and are mandated to self-quarantine until March 20,” the district said.

GREENPORT SCHOOL DISTRICT

Greenport School District officials canceled classes as a precaution.

“Although the district has not received a positive result of COVID 19 in a student or staff member, we have made the decision to close tomorrow, March 12th and Friday, March 13th,” the district said on its website. “This is out of an abundance of caution and will allow the District to complete a deep, thorough cleaning of the building. We will remain in constant contact with the Suffolk County Department of Health.”

HAUPPAUGE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Hauppauge school officials canceled two days of classes to clean the buildings.

“There are no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 among our faculty, staff, or students,” the district said. “However,  to prepare for the possibility of school closure, there will be no school for students on Friday, March 13 and Monday, March 16.”

HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY

Hofstra University canceled classes for the week to avoid potentially spreading the disease after a Hofstra student was sent to the hospital to get tested for the virus. 

“On Sunday, March 8, a student contacted the Student Health and Counseling Center reporting flu-like symptoms, after attending a conference where an attendee has tested positive for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19),” Hofstra said in an email to students. “The student is being tested and is in isolation. In keeping with current state Department of Health directives, six individuals who have been in close contact with this student have also been asked to self-isolate pending the student’s test results.”

According to a social media account of the Hofstra University student in quarantine, the student, who is currently being tested for coronavirus at Nassau University Medical Center, attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) from Feb. 27 to March 1. The American Conservative Union, the group that runs CPAC, alerted all attendees on March 7 that someone who attended the conference had tested positive for the coronavirus.

After learning of this development, the student, who noticed coronavirus-like symptoms after attending the conference, sought medical treatment.

Click here for more.

HOLY TRINITY HIGH SCHOOL

Holy Trinity High School will be closed for five days.

“At this time, Holy Trinity Diocesan High School has no known cases now has anyone been tested for the COVID-19 virus,” Principal Kathleen Moran wrote in a letter on the school’s website. “At this time, Diocesan elementary and high schools in the Diocese of Rockville Centre will conduct a Professional Day on Monday, March 16th. Only faculty and staff are to report, no students. No students will attend school from Monday, March 16th through Friday, March 20th.”

JERICHO SCHOOL DISTRICT

Jericho Schools are closed March 12 and 13, the district said.

LEVITTOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Levittown school officials canceled classes for two days.

“We have been notified by the Nassau County Department of Health that a GC Tech staff member has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19),” the district said. “As mandated by the New York State Health Department, GC Tech will be closed on Friday, March 13 and Monday, March 16. Since GC Tech is located at Levittown Memorial, and our students attend this program, the Levittown School District will also close all district schools on Friday and Monday out of an abundance of caution to clean and disinfect all of our schools. Please note that although this individual is not a Levittown Employee, we feel strongly that this is a prudent course of action.”

LOCUST VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT

The Locust Valley Central School District cancelled classed Tuesday, March 10.

“The district has been alerted by the Nassau County Department of Health that two contracted employees involved in transporting students have tested positive for COVID-19,” the district said on its website. “The district will be closed on Tuesday, March 10 so we can learn more and assess the situation to determine the best steps forward. We will keep the community updated as new information becomes available.”

Schools reopened the following day.

“All Locust Valley Central School District students will have a two-hour delayed opening on Wednesday, March 11,” the district said.

It then closed for two more days.

“All Locust Valley Central School District Schools will be closed on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17,” the district said.

LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY

LIU is transitioning to online-only classes for two weeks.

“Effective March 16, 2020 Long Island University will move to online instruction at all locations through March 27, 2020,” the university said.

MILLER PLACE SCHOOL DISTRICT

“The District is altering the school calendar for Monday, March 16, 2020 as follows: No student attendance and no student activities, including athletics,” the district said.

MOLLOY COLLEGE

Molloy College in Rockville Centre has suspended all face-to-face instruction for the next 18 days out of an abundance of caution amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, officials said.

The college issued a statement Tuesday that there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus at Molloy, but it is suspending in-person classes “for all academic credit coursework at all locations” from Wednesday, March 11, through Saturday, March 28 to be safe. It is also canceling all on-campus events between those dates.

“Faculty will offer classes via alternate delivery methods,” the college said. “Staff and administrators who can work from home may be required to do so until further notice.”

Click here for more details.

NASSAU COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Nassau Community College officials canceled classes on Wednesday, March 11, after a person with ties to the campus tested positive for coronavirus.

“The college has its first confirmed positive association with the virus and as such we are closing the campus through Wednesday in order to clean the campus according to appropriate guidelines,” the college said in a statement. “Face-to-face classes have been suspended through the end of the week. Online classes will continue. We will work closely with State and County officials to assess the college’s COVID-19 situation and determine when we can resume normal operations.

OYSTER BAY-EAST NORWICH CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District school officials canceled classed Tuesday. 

“The Nassau County Department of Health (DOH) just contacted us to share that two individuals employed by our transportation contractor who transport community students to locations OTHER than our District schools have tested positive for COVID-19,” the district said on its website. “DOH is contacting each affected student’s family to advise on required quarantine and plans to monitor them during this period. At this time there have been no confirmed cases among our students or staff.

Out of an abundance of caution, schools will be closed Tuesday, March 10th for further cleaning and assessment of this matter,” the statement continued. “Transportation for students who attend schools other than OBEN schools will be provided. We will remain in close contact with the DOH and transportation company.”

The district reopened on Wednesday, March 11.

“After coordinated efforts by the Department of Health and our transportation company to take proper precautions, schools will be open,” the district said.

OYSTERPONDS SCHOOL DISTRICT

Oysterponds school officials canceled classes for two days.

“Upon the recommendation from the Suffolk County Board of Health, the Oysterponds School will be closed tomorrow, Friday, March 13th and Monday, March 16th, 2020 for a cautious investigation of our communities,” the district said. “Out alternative learning program is already underway. Please follow your teacher’s directions. Stay home and wash your hands.”

PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District officials announced Monday that classes would be canceled Tuesday after a staffer was confirmed as having coronavirus.

“We have just been notified by a staff member who has a confirmed case of the coronavirus, Plainview-Old Bethpage Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lorna Lewis said in a message on the district’s website. 

The school buildings are scheduled to be cleaned after 6 p.m. Monday. The school later announced that it was staying closed on Wednesday March 11.

“While we have not received any notice of additional identified cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) within our community, the [Nassau County Health] Department requested we close all schools until we receive further guidance from New York State Department of Education,” the district said.

The closure was later extended to Thursday, March 12.

“The district understands this is an inconvenience, but we are taking these precautionary steps in the best interest of our students, staff and the community,” the school said.

And on Thursday, the school announced that it was closing for two weeks.

“The Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District was ordered by the Nassau County Department of Health to close all schools within the District starting tomorrow, March 13, 2020, and reopen on Friday, March 20, 2020,” the district said. “While there are no additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 that have been reported within the District, we are closing all schools out of an abundance of caution and commitment to contain the spread of the virus within our community. This will provide the District with an additional opportunity to initiate further cleaning measures and facilitate social-distancing.”

PORTLEDGE SCHOOL

Portledge School, a private school in Locust Valley, canceled classes Tuesday.

“Out of an abundance of caution in response to the closure of the LV School District, Portledge will also be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, March 10,” the school said on its website. “While we have not been instructed by the Health Department to do so and do not have any identified Covid-19 cases at our school, we will use the day to assess the situation and determine next steps.”

The cancellation was scheduled to continue until Friday.

“Online instruction for our Middle and Upper School students will commence on Friday, March 13,” the school said.

PORT WASHINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT

Port Washington school officials canceled classes for two days.

“The Board of Education, after due consideration of the most up-to-date information from our federal, state and local health departments and experts, and acting with an abundance of precaution, has decided to close our schools tomorrow, Friday, March 13th and Monday, March 16th,” the district said. “This will give us time to assess more closely what our options are moving forward and to have further discussions with educators and health experts around Long Island. Please know our teachers are working on plans for remote learning in the event of an extended school closure.”

ROCKY POINT SCHOOL DISTRICT

Rocky Point school officials canceled classes on Monday, March 16.

“While there is no confirmed case of an individual with COVID19 in our area, there are cases within our surrounding communities and the overall numbers in the county continue to rise,” the district said. “Therefore, in an effort to be proactive in protecting the health and safety of our students and staff, the district has made the decision to close school for students on Monday, March 16, 2020.”

SACHEM CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

Sachem school officials canceled classes on Friday, March 13.

“The Sachem School District received confirmation from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services that a community member has a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID 19),” the district said. “This individual has children who attend Chippewa Elementary School. While current guidance states the district does not need to close schools at this time, out of an abundance of caution all schools, including after-school activities will be closed tomorrow, March 13, 2020. In addition, there will be NO events or other scheduled programs held in our facilities or on our grounds on Saturday, March 14th or Sunday, March 15th.”

SAG HARBOR SCHOOL DISTRICT

The Sag Harbor School District canceled classes through the weekend.

“While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within our schools, in an effort to be proactive in protecting the health and safety of our school community, effective tomorrow Thursday, March 12, Sag Harbor Schools will be closed for students through Sunday, March 22,” the district said.

SAYVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Sayville school officials canceled classes on Monday, March 16.

“While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Sayville Schools we are, out of an abundance of caution, closing all schools on Monday, March 16 for students,” the district said. “This decision has been made to permit our teachers to prepare instructional materials for students should there be a long-term school closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This conference day will also permit the District’s custodial staff to continue their intensive COVID-19 cleaning process.”

SEWANHAKA SCHOOL DISTRICT

Sewwanhaka school officials canceled classes on Friday, March 13.

“We have been notified by the Nassau County Department of Health that one of our component elementary school districts will be closing tomorrow, Friday, March 13, to conduct a deep cleaning of their schools,” the district said. “Out of an abundance of caution for student and staff safety, the Sewanhaka Central High School District will also close to conduct a deep cleaning of our five schools beginning tomorrow and into the weekend. At this time, we will not implement any remote learning. It is our intention to re-open all schools on Monday, unless otherwise directed by the appropriate governmental agency.”

SHOREHAM-WADING RIVER SCHOOL DISTRICT

The Shoreham-Wading River School District school officials sent robocalls to parents Monday morning saying buses with children aboard were being rerouted, but it reopened on Tuesday.

“Earlier this morning, a member of our high school security team informed the district that their spouse may potentially have the coronavirus,” Shoreham-Wading River School Superintendent Gerard Poole said in a robocall Monday. “We have yet to receive notification of any confirmed cases of the coronavirus within the Shoreham-Wading River community. The district acted in the best interest of students and staff and out of an abundance of caution based on the information that was first reported to us, we decided to close schools today.”

By Tuesday morning Shoreham-Wading River schools were back in session.

“We felt it prudent to close in order to be overly cautious and in the best interest of our students/staff health,” Poole said in a follow-up letter on the district website, noting that the school was thoroughly cleaned during the closure. “Please note that it was further confirmed by the Department of Health that no individual in our district has tested positive for the coronavirus as of this writing.”

The school district then canceled classes on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17.

SMITHTOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT

Smithtown school officials announced Thursday, March 12 that classes are being canceled next week, although no cases have impacted the community.

“In the interest of the health and safety of our students, their families, our staff, and the greater community at large, from Monday, March 16, through Sunday, March 22, 2020, ALL Smithtown Central School District schools will be closed,” the district said. “All activities and building use will be cancelled throughout those dates as well. During that time, we will monitor the public health situation and decide whether or not to extend this closure.”

ST. ANTHONY’S HIGH SCHOOL

St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington canceled classes through the weekend.

“St. Anthony’s High School will be closed on Thursday, March 12, and Friday, March 13th,” the school said on its website. “During this time, the building will be cleaned and sanitized.”

ST. PATRICK SCHOOL

St. Patrick School in Smithtown canceled classes Thursday.

“We have been notified that a member of our school community has had a secondary exposure to the Covid-19 virus,” the private school said on its website. “While the Suffolk County Department of Health has assured us that closure is not necessary, out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to use the next 24 hours to bring in a professional company to disinfect our campus.”

The school will reopen on Friday.

SUFFOLK COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE

SCCC is transitioning to remote learning for the rest of the semester.

“The College will continue to hold classes on its campuses for the remainder of this week,” the college said. “Suffolk will then transition to the remote model after spring break.”

SYOSSET CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

Syosset school officials canceled classes on Monday, March 16.

“At this time there have been NO confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our students or District staff,” the district said. “However, circumstances developed and out of an abundance of caution, all after school and evening activities are canceled for today, March 13, 2020. All schools will be closed Monday, March 16, 2020.”

THREE VILLAGE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

Three Village school officials canceled classes for five days.

“While there is no confirmed case of an individual with COVID-19 in our area, there are cases within our surrounding communities and the overall numbers in the county continue to rise,” the district said. “Therefore, in an effort to be proactive in protecting the health and safety of our students and staff, the district has made the decision to close schools for a five-day period effective Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20.

VALLEY STREAM CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

Valley Stream school officials canceled classes on Friday, March 13.

“A staff member at Memorial Junior High School has self-reported that she tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19),” the district said. “Guidance provided by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) requires a school to close for 24 hours while the local department of health investigates. Therefore, all VSCHSD schools will be closed tomorrow, Friday, March 13, 2020. In addition, all activities scheduled to take place within our buildings this weekend are canceled.”

THE WALDORF SCHOOL

The Waldorf School, a private school in Garden City, canceled classes Tuesday and Wednesday out as a preventative measure to give time to disinfect the campus.

“To this date, we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within our community,” the school said. “We will be taking these days to thoroughly clean and sanitize the School and test our Continuance of Operations (COP) plan that includes a distance-learning component.”

WANTAGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

Wantagh school officials canceled classes Friday, March 13 to disinfect the campus.

“The district has been notified that a student at Wantagh High School has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19),” the district said. “Guidance provided by the New York\ State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) requires a school to close for 24 hours while the local department of health investigates. We will be closing all schools across the district tomorrow, Friday, March 13, 2020. This includes all before, after school and evening activities. The need for additional closures beyond Friday will be determined after consultation with the Nassau County Department of Health.”

WEST ISLIP SCHOOL DISTRICT

West Islip school officials canceled classes on Thursday, March 12.

“The district has been notified that a staff member at Bayview Elementary School has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19),” the district said on its website. “Guidance provided by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) requires a school to close for 24 hours while the local department of health investigates. However, in an abundance of caution, all schools in the district will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, March 12. All activities throughout the district are cancelled for Thursday. The need for additional closures beyond Thursday will be determined after consultation with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.”

The school was cleared to reopen Friday, March, 13, but opted to remain closed as a precaution.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that Mill Neck Manor, a school for the deaf in Mill Neck, was closed due to coronavirus, based on information provided by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. Mill Neck Manor school officials say they are open.

Long Island Woman Who Testified Against Harvey Weinstein Speaks Out

Left: Harvey Weinstein in Paris in 2014. (Photo by Georges Biard) Right: Taralê Wulff.

An aspiring actress from Long Island is speaking out after she was among the half dozen women who testified against Harvey Weinstein at the movie producer’s recent rape trial in Manhattan court.

Taralê Wulff, who testified against Weinstein in January, published an open letter in which she reflects on her experience ahead of Weinstein’s sentencing Wednesday. She was one of four women who testified to show a pattern of behavior, but since charges in the case stemmed from two other women and not her ordeal, she is barred from giving a victim impact statement in court. So Wulff said she published an essay because she believes it is important that her voice be heard.

“Harvey Weinstein stole a part of my self-worth, treating me like I was nothing and I became fearful and mistrustful, not only of others but of myself,” Wulff wrote in an essay published Tuesday. “These feelings were unbearable to live with and I pushed back the fear, shame and guilt to move on with my life. That is how I survive.”

A jury convicted Weinstein last month of third-degree rape and criminal sexual act but acquitted him of predatory sexual assault. Wulff is one of about 100 women who’ve alleged that Weinstein sexually abused or raped them. His case was the catalyst of the #MeToo movement in which women increasingly began coming forward two years ago with allegations against men who used their positions of power as leverage over women who they sexually abused or raped.

“I was okay (or so I thought) until I read about brave women speaking out with stories just like mine,” Wulff wrote. “The heartbreak of shame and guilt came flooding back. I knew what those women felt and I wanted to help them. I had to.”

Wulff met Weinstein in 2005 when Wulff was a waitress at Cipriani Upstairs in Manhattan, where he allegedly masturbated in front of her after pulling her onto a rooftop terrace. She testified that Weinstein raped her at the disgraced movie mogul’s apartment, where she went hoping to get hired.

His attorneys maintain that his sexual relations were all consensual and have indicated that they plan to appeal the conviction. He also faces similar charges in Los Angeles. Weinstein faces up to 25 years in prison when sentenced by Judge James Burke. 

“My hope is that Judge Burke will hold Weinstein accountable by imposing a prison sentence that reflects what he has done to us and knowing that whatever sentence he renders, it will never undo what has happened,” Wulff wrote. “I hope that the sentence sends a clear message that times have changed and that more women need to speak out for themselves and that men and women need to speak out for others.”