Following survey responses from parents and community members, the Comsewogue School District released its kindergarten through sixth-grade reopening plan, ahead of the state’s July 31 deadline. More details of the reopoening plans are available on the district’s website at www.comsewogue.k12.ny.us.
During two public forums with parents on July 27 and 28, the district outlined the reopening plan and answered questions.
“I’m glad we were able to develop a safe plan to bring our elementary students back,” said Comsewogue Superintendent Jennifer Quinn.
To deal with the time it would take to implement temperature checks/COVID screening for students and staff, the district will be adjusting the arrival time as well as shortening the school days from eight periods to seven periods.
“In order to make up for that time we will be doing a districtwide character education program that will be run remotely,” the superintendent said.
The maximum class size will consist of 15 students socially distanced. A typical class of 25-30 students will be divided into two groups, Blue and Gold. Each of those groups will be placed in a classroom for the entire day. Teachers will rotate three periods in each class, the remaining periods will be handled by other staff members. Aides will monitor hallways/rooms between transitions. Lunch will take place in the classroom.
Quinn said they will combine reading teachers, librarians and math/Academic Intervention Services teachers to help fill in the remaining periods.
“We are not just putting in substitute teachers for half the day; they’ll be with certified teachers and in small groups,” Quinn said.
Transporting students to and from schools will no doubt be a challenge. The district is encouraging parents to drop off their children at school each day, and if they live close enough, consider walking them to school.
For those coming to school by bus, students will be required to pass a COVID-19 screening and undergo a temperature check at their respective bus stop. There will be monitors at each bus stop.
Once all students are cleared, they will board from the back of the bus and will sit socially distanced and are required to wear a mask. Students will leave from the front of the bus. Disinfecting the buses will occur between school routes. Parents who drop off their children will also be required to undergo a COVID screening and temperature check from their car. Drop-off locations will be separate from the school buses, according to Susan Casali, associate superintendent.
Parents were concerned of what would happen to their child if they were deemed sick or had COVID-19 symptoms. Quinn said that students would be able to resume class work online and would need a doctor’s note to return to school after having had quarantined.
In addition, the district will have HVAC systems upgraded with recommended filters, install more custodial staff at each building, use electrostatic sprayers used to disinfect quickly, there will be hand wipes in each classroom as well as hand sanitizers around the building, nurse’s office used for healthy people and an isolation room used for sick people.
Before and aftercare will be provided at each elementary school.
“We will be keeping [before and aftercare] in the gymnasium because it is our largest area that won’t be used,” Casali said. “They will be arriving wearing masks and will be six-feet apart.”
All pickups of children will be done in a designated area, parents will not be allowed to enter the building. The gym area will be sanitized each day. In the event students are not able to go outside for recess they will be able to use that space.
Special education programs will continue. The district is asking all parents to complete a mandatory form to let them know if their child will be attending school in-person or virtually to begin the school year. The decision will be in effect from the first day of school through Dec. 31. The district said it has purchased enough Chromebooks for all students.
Comsewogue plans to host future meetings to talk specifically about grades 7-12 plan.
More school districts will be releasing their reopening plans in the coming days. Check back at www.tbrnewsmedia.com for the latest on reopening plans.