School expects to welcome 200 students next week

Shelter Island School is poised for the start of another school year, anticipating 200 students when classes resume Sept. 2. Teachers return to their classes Sept. 1, with students due back the following day.

But classes won’t be held on Sept. 6, Labor Day, and the following two days, Sept. 7 and 8, because of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

Thursday, Aug. 26, Superintendent Brian Doelger, Ed.D., will conduct a Google Meet session with families to discuss regulations and respond to questions.

School opening plans will be discussed with the Board of Education at its Aug. 30 monthly meeting.

Most families who relocated to the Island in 2020, transferring their children to Shelter Island School, have had to return to New York City, Mr. Doelger said.

“The ones who left did tell us that they are only going back because they physically have to be in the city but loved their experience here,” the superintendent said.

Plans call for all PTSA member families, including those who have had to return to the city, to be invited to an October barbecue to maintain relationships with those whose children attended classes on the Island in the last school year.

Sports are resuming, but there will be an emphasis on activities that allow for distancing and reduced contact, again, in line with County regulations.

All students, staff and visitors must mask up within the building. There’s a recommendation that a distance of 3 feet be maintained between people in classrooms.

In line with regulations from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, masks won’t be required for outside activities.

The district was able to upgrade to a top-of-the line air filtering system and install additional sinks for frequent hand washing. “We are concerned about the Delta variant and are taking many of the same precautions as last year,” Mr. Doelger said.

Despite encouraging vaccinations, students under the age of 12 aren’t allowed to be inoculated.

Once the weather warmed in 2020, the district held Board of Education meetings outdoors rather than remotely using Goggle Meet.

Those meetings resumed inside the building in cooler weather by holding sessions in the gymnasium where there is sufficient room to maintain social distancing, and masks were the order of the day. That’s how they will be conducted now.

After preparing for distance learning in March 2020, when it became clear a prolonged pandemic seemed likely, district administrators and staff were able to resume in-person classes fairly quickly. The district was able to offer in-person learning through most of 2020-21.

Among new classes this fall is an advanced placement (AP) psychology course. The district is trying to offer more AP courses to help students enter college with credits already earned in their high school years, Mr. Doelger said.

Some new staff members are expected to be named at the Aug. 30 Board of Education meeting.