Dear Locust Valley Community Members,
As we navigate these uncertain times and determine how as a community we can support each other, your school administration team is working hard to be the backbone of that support system. The team met on Monday to discuss many topics related to this school closure, and I hope some of what we discussed, and that I will share here, will help you plan your time at home, answer questions and calm concerns.
The Board of Education will meet tonight, March 17 at 7:15 p.m. in the Middle School/High School Mini-Theater to execute normal school business that still needs attention. We will practice social distancing and complete the meeting as quickly as possible.
The governor announced on March 16 that all New York State schools will be closed until April 1, an addition of two days from the closure announced by the county over the weekend.
We are proud to announce that we have a plan in place to feed our students who normally receive free and reduced-price lunch. Meals will be distributed at Locust Valley High School from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. weekdays beginning this Thursday, March 19. Any qualifying students may come to the school to receive a grab-and-go meal. We are looking into a second meal distribution location as our planning continues.
Preliminary home learning plans are being posted on the website tomorrow. We encourage you to look through them with your children and start doing the suggested activities. Our goal is to keep students engaged, keep them from falling behind and prepare them for the work that is to come when we return to school. You can email building and district administrators with any questions you may have.
As we continue to wait for guidance from the state, we are reluctant to establish a long-term plan; however, we are working collaboratively and collegially with the Locust Valley School Employees Association to develop a plan that will meet students’ educational needs for the next several weeks or months.
While the governor has forgiven the 180-day requirement for school days, there are some loopholes, and I am working with the other superintendents in the county and state to clarify and plan accordingly.
Today, I met with our custodial and cleaning staff to thank them for their diligence and dedication to our District. They continue to be responsive and responsible, and committed to the safety of our students and staff. Their service is not to be taken for granted. They show up every day while all other staff is home, practicing social distancing and helping to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are not asking our clerical staff to come in at this time, as they too should be home, avoiding contact with others. Therefore, should you need to contact us, it is best to send an email to one of our administrators. Principals and their administrative teams will be checking email throughout the closure.
We continue to monitor our students who were exposed to the virus, and I am pleased to report that I have not been advised that any of them has tested positive. Community members have expressed concerns to me that some of these students have not remained in quarantine. As per the Nassau County Department of Health, should they discover that anyone is not adhering to the quarantine, the individual will be placed in isolation at Nassau University Medical Center for the balance of the quarantine, which for our students expires on March 23.
In an effort to help get past this, we need everyone to follow the guidelines provided by the state, the county and the CDC. We know it is hard to keep children home with no companions. Here are some ideas we have for making this time a bit easier for you.
Read a book with a friend over FaceTime or video chat.
Take a virtual field trip with the family. Here are some options: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SvIdgTx9djKO6SjyvPDsoGlkgE3iExmi3qh2KRRku_w/mobilebasic?fbclid=IwAR2ArMDPh_YEcBYC4W1zU_H6MDcF7YzPgjcQupGTDLSqomsFgPVLO0Kubrk&urp=gmail_link
Play outside, but disinfect your slides, swings, etc., before and after each use.
Take a bike ride or a walk on the beach, where it is easy to stay six feet from others.
When was the last time you did a large puzzle together? It’s a great brain boost, takes a long time and promotes cooperation.
Board games are another great option.
For our older students, it is important to remember that group gatherings are not safe right now and it’s the one time we might encourage more technology. That said, we implore you to monitor your child’s internet activity. We’ve sent students home with Chromebooks and cannot monitor their use while at home, so we need to partner with our parents to ensure that our students are visiting appropriate websites. It is not possible for us to block certain sites at this time. We are aware that each of you is operating under different circumstances, yet it is our expectation that parents will actively supervise their children’s learning activities and ensure they are checking into Google Classroom daily.
I wish you health and the perspective to find the positive in this situation. We are gaining time with our families that we may never have had the opportunity for previously, and we are saving lives. That’s the takeaway here. We are teaching our children that we will make sacrifices for the safety of others.
I am here for you (virtually) and really look forward to seeing all of you in person again.
Thomas P. Dolan, Ed.D.
Interim Superintendent of Schools