Shelter Island School plans submitted for September opening: Three scenarios outlined

The Shelter Island School District has submitted to the state Education Department, as required, its plans for reopening school this fall.

According to Superintendent Brian C. Doelger, Ed.D., the district had to draw up three plans: one for full in-person attendance, one for all distant learning, and a hybrid of the two, and submit them by July 31. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he will make a decision on reopening this region during the week of August 1-7. If the infection rate is below 5%, a region can reopen. He will close it down if the rate exceeds 9%.

Although Shelter Island has had minimal COVID-19 infections, the school cannot open independently, but is covered by the regional conditions.

Having formulated the plans, the superintendent will continue to outline changes for the 2020-2021 school year through meetings and letters to the community.

Three staff meetings are scheduled in August to review preparations. Parent meetings are scheduled for August 18 and 25, and September 1 at 6 p.m.

The plan will be presented to the Board of Education at its August 17 meeting and will be voted on.

The district administration will create a video, in both English and Spanish, to send to parents outlining what the district changes will be. This will show the layout of hallways, the new look of classrooms, entry and exit procedures, and other safety measures.

The plan lays out, in detail, distancing, hygiene, screening, ventilation, training and other measures for in-person instruction. The full plan is available through the link below:

The district held informational meetings outdoors on July 30 and 31 for residents who are considering enrolling their children in the school. “Fifteen new families have asked about enrolling children in grades from Pre-K to 6,” Dr. Doelger said at the last school board meeting, “and eight have alrady registered. We welcome any residents.”

A number of summer residents have expressed interest in staying on the Island year-round, to avoid returning to communities where the infection rate is higher.

The New York Times reported this week that second homeowners are enrolling their children in East End public schools, which they see as a safer alternative to their New York City schools, both public and private. The Amagansett School, a public elementary school in East Hampton, has seen a doubling of enrollment to about 150, reversing a declining trend in recent years, the Times reported.