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Board of Ed looks ahead; events, new programs announced

As the school continues to adapt during the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, several events were announced at the June 15 Board of Education meeting.

On June 19, the Pre-K “moving up” will be celebrated with a drive-through. The fifth grade moving up will be a drive-in event on June 25.

The high school graduation is planned as an outdoor event for Saturday, June 27. Rain dates will be Friday evening, June 26, if bad weather is forecast, or Sunday afternoon, June 28 if needed. Each graduate will have five tickets for family members to attend.

Superintendent Brian Doelger, Ed.D, announced that an outdoor prom will be hosted in late July or August.

The superintendent said the expectation was that school could safely re-open in the fall, adhering to state guidelines. Additional hand washing stations have been installed and the small class sizes should contribute to social distancing.

Jennifer Rylott, director of pupil personnel, data and instruction, announced that there would be no general education summer school — called “Leap into Learning” — but Mr. Doelger and Walter Brigham were working on a remote plan for continuing learning in the summer. An in-person special education summer program may be offered at the school, since the population is small, but parents could opt to participate virtually if they were not comfortable sending their children to school.

The school plans to begin new 3-year-old Pre-K half-day sessions for the fall. An informational meeting will be held for parents in July. Mr. Doelger said there have been several inquiries from second homeowners who were considering staying in the fall.

The board paid tributes to Linda Eklund, who is stepping down after several years of service on the board. President Kathleen Lynch enumerated several advances that had been made during her tenure, including hiring a number of teachers and superintendents; installing a new playground structure; installing innovative equipment and technology; trips to Washington and elsewhere.

In addition, Ms. Eklund hosted the National Honor Society at the Ram’s Head Inn each year and prepared gifts for the graduates. The board was sending a gift of a classic Shelter Island School letter sweater to Ms. Eklund, who was unable to attend due to a family pet emergency.

Each of the board members and the superintendent had words of praise for the seniors who had organized the peaceful and successful march against racism on June 14 in the Center. Mr. Doelger pointed out that the organizers, Emma Gallagher, Abby Kotula and Henry Binder had taken care to work with the police department and leadership of the school and town to devise a plan that was followed conscientiously.

Ms. Lynch thanked Jimi Rando and 18 Bay Restaurant for catering the senior class dinner. Usually held at the restaurant, the dinner was served at very large tables at the school to allow for social distancing.