The Miller Place School District is tentatively planning on a 5-day in person learning experience for elementary students come fall, while secondary school students will deal with two days of in-person instruction, one day of live online learning and two days of remote learning.
All school districts were required to release their reopening plans July 31 to New York State for review. Like all reopening plans, these are tentative based on a final decision by New York State officials. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has yet to make the final decision for districts, but has promised to do so by Aug. 7.
In a letter to parents breaking down the district’s 35-page plan, Miller Place will have classes down to an average of 17 at the elementary level. The middle and high school plan would mean the total number of students in class is reduced by 50 percent throughout the school year.
“If Governor Cuomo does not allow full on-site instruction for our K-5 students, they will be placed on a hybrid model of two-day on-site instruction, one-day live remote instruction and two-day remote learning,” the letter signed by Superintendent Marianne Cartisano stated.
According to the district’s plan, this past May Miller Place purchased Dell laptops to supplement existing devices so now each student has access to a computer at home. This fall, each student and teacher should have access to a device they can use in school and from home. For the online learning component of this fall, the district has gone with Google G-Suite, and teachers and admin are expected to take six hours of professional development prior to the start of the school year.
Students in both elementary and secondary will be expected to have physical education, music, art and other special courses, though it did not state whether this will be held in classroom or outdoors, as other districts have explicitly planned on doing.
Compared to other neighboring districts, Miller Place will not explicitly have students in special education classes in school five days a week. Instead, students’ times and coursework will be determined on an individual basis, with plans drawn up for each child in conjunction with parents and members of the school’s Committee on Special Education. Students will use their school-provided laptops from home, and on-site instruction will be provided two days per week with access to district technology within the building. Special education teachers will still be individually responsible for each special needs students both at home and in school.
As far as before and after school programs, the district said it plans to again partner with SCOPE for these plus the Pre-Kindergarten program.
Miller Place said for those vulnerable students who cannot participate in in-person learning for medical reasons a full-time online learning may be offered in a program facilitated by district personnel, by Eastern Suffolk BOCES or home tutoring instruction. These programs will offer a basic and generic schedule for students to complete their instructional program and course requirements, though it did not offer specifics of what that may entail.
The district will not provide a separate learning experience for parents who do not want their kids to attend for the part time in-person instruction. However, the district has provided resources for parents looking to homeschool their children at millerplace.k12.ny.us/Domain/75.
Miller Place’s survey sent to parents in July received 1678 responses. Of those who responded, close to 88 percent or 1,472 parents said they would have their kid attend school in person for at least some part of the school year. At the same time, most parents said they were not in favor of having children wear masks during normal instruction.
Though many students would, the majority of parents, about 60 percent, said they would not be able to have their child driven to school each day, and would need to take public transportation.