Parents organize car parade for five full days in school

Parents organize car parade for five full days in school

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Families rallied in August asking the Smithtown Central School District to consider five days of in-person schooling for all of the district’s students. Photo by Lina Weingarten

Members of the Facebook page Smithtown Parents Watchdog Group are heading up a car parade Sunday, Feb. 7, in the name of education.

The parents have been proponents of all Smithtown Central School District students returning to school five days a week in person and have held several rallies in front of the district’s New York Avenue administration building.

Currently, while elementary school students have been in the classrooms all five days since the beginning of October, those in the middle and high schools are still following a hybrid model.

During the Nov. 24 Smithtown Central School District Board of Education meeting, school board members addressed an aspirational timeline to have secondary students return to school in-person full time in staggering phases starting in January. However, the move has been postponed twice.

In a Jan. 27 letter, Superintendent Mark Secaur provided district families an update after the school board’s Jan. 26 meeting. The board decided to pause the full return of secondary students until March.

“While we are starting to see improvements with the data associated with the pandemic, we continue to have very real concerns regarding our ability to safely supervise and support the academic program should we increase the number of students in attendance daily,” Secaur said in the letter.

The watchdog group plans to pass all secondary schools in the district Feb. 7 and posted a map on its Facebook page. The group’s administrator said on the Facebook page that those interested can join the parade at any point. Middle and high school students are invited to participate, and families are encouraged to decorate their cars, bring megaphones and make signs.

“Let there be no mistake, you are demanding your full education and school experiences be given back to you,” the message posted on Facebook read.

The car parade will begin at the Smithtown Library – Nesconset Building, 148 Smithtown Blvd., Nesconset at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 7 and end at the New York Avenue Central Office at approximately 12:30 p.m.

“We will never stop fighting for our MS and HS kids to have the option to return to school five days,” the message read. “They deserve to have the ability to learn in person every day and stop the loss they have experienced from continuing — let’s make the line of cars be endless.”