During the district's board of education meeting on Aug. 12, central administrators presented on the district’s reopening plan. A limited number of community members were able to attend the meeting in-person in the Lynbrook High School gymnasium while others watched through a livestream. This served as the first of three informational meetings that the district is holding with regard to the reopening of schools.
The presentation consisted of important information and expectations in the key areas that the district’s Reopening Schools Task Force focused on. Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for finance, operations, and information systems, shared the health and safety protocols for the new school year, such as implementing screening and monitoring, contact tracing, healthy hygiene practices, face coverings and social distancing. James Saitta, director of facilities, presented on the facilities protocols and plan. This included socially distancing all seating, installing clear polycarbonate shielding throughout the buildings and adding portable sinks in key areas.
Dr. Gerard Beleckas, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, outlined the reopening instructional plan. At the elementary level, families will have a choice between a gold and green model which they must commit to for the entire first marking period. He detailed each plan with the gold model being in-person learning and green model being remote learning. At the secondary level, Dr. Beleckas discussed the choices of a green model or blue model. The green model is a remote learning option, while the blue model allows for a hybrid experience in which students learn in school and remotely every other day. In all grade levels there will be an emphasis on mental health. This will be implemented in many ways such as providing parental supports, resource lists and conducting mental health check ins throughout the year.
To ensure that all students have the tools that they need to succeed this school year, Dr. Beleckas spoke about the technology. Among his key points, he shared that the district has ordered devices for all students, Wi-Fi connections will be available for those who do not have an Internet connection at home and for those learning at home, lessons will be livestreamed. In addition, Dr. Beleckas discussed belongings. To keep everyone safe, lockers will not be used in middle school or high school, students will not be sharing materials and more.
Dr. Maureen Berman, assistant superintendent for personnel, transportation and student support services, presented on the transportation protocols. She shared routing procedures, bus company cleaning and disinfecting protocols, what boarding and disembarking will look like for students and more. Following her presentation, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak detailed the district’s extracurricular and athletics plan. She reminded the community that the start date for fall high school sports has been pushed to Sept. 21 and that no discussion or decision on middle school sports has taken place on the state level. Dr. Burak also noted that there will be no field trips until further notice and that clubs that are permitted will be held virtually.
Dr. Beleckas concluded the reopening presentation by discussing the full remote model in depth. The plan would be implemented if individual schools or the district closes. The community is highly encouraged to visit the district’s Reopening Plan webpage at www.lynbrookschools.org/district/reopening_plan for more information on the plan and to view the full presentation. Each building principal will hold informational meetings for families, and the community will have another opportunity to have their reopening questions answered at a third informational meeting at 10 a.m. on Aug. 19. Individuals can email their questions to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the day on Aug. 18.
Aside from the reopening presentation, Board President William Belmont read a message from Dr. Burak and the Lynbrook Board of Education regarding the national conversation taking place on diversity. Mr. Belmont stated the various ways that the district is continuing to evolve on this important topic. This includes working to continue to diversify the curriculum and having each school establish a subcommittee of the Diversity Council. Members will provide monthly updates, create additional cultural celebrations and monthly recognitions and provide training to members of the administration to begin meaningful conversations on race. To read the full letter, please visit www.lynbrookschools.org.
The board of education meeting continued with Dr. Burak’s superintendent’s report. She congratulated Lynbrook High School for once again receiving the Scholar-Athlete School of Excellence Award from the New York State Public High School Athletics Association.
Dr. Lynch and Mr. Saitta followed with a capital projects and bond update for the community. The construction for the Lynbrook High School extension is progressing well with most of the foundation being poured. The district is in the process of running all of the electric and installing the underground and roof plumbing. The next step is focusing on opening up the courtyard area for September. On the horizon is major sewer work along the front of the high school.
At Marion Street Elementary School, the electric will soon be shut down and the transformer vaults that are located on the front lawn will be removed. A crane will help bring in the new transformer vaults but will result in Waverly Avenue being temporarily closed. The school will be without power for approximately four days. In addition, the installation of the Waverly Park elevator is progressing well. The district is about 60% done with the brick on the outside of the building, the block on the inside is completed, the steel is hung for the second floor inside and the concrete is almost ready to be poured for the floors. Windows and doors still need to be put in. At Marion Street and West End elementary schools, the new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are about done. The duct work and ceilings are almost restored, and the gymnasium floors will be next.