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School Opening Plans, UPK Top of Mind at Lynbrook Board Meeting

The Lynbrook School District Board of Education met on Aug. 11 in the Lynbrook High School gymnasium to present and discuss reopening plans for September as well as the upcoming plans for the Universal Prekindergarten Program for the 2021-2022 school year.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak shared with the board of education and community members that, although school districts have not been given specific guidelines to follow as of yet, the district task force met to review guidelines promulgated by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

While more guidelines from the New York State Department of Education may be forthcoming, the district has adopted the recommendations put forth by its taskforce, consisting of a broad spectrum of stakeholders in the district. Dr. Burak thanked those members by stating, “I commend everyone making the health and welfare of our students and staff a top priority.”

Students and staff will be required to wear masks for all indoor activities and on school buses. Masks will not be required for outdoor activities. “Keeping our schools open and safe with in-person learning is the number one priority,” she said. No remote learning option will be offered. The district will return to a pre-COVID schedule including normal arrival and dismissal times, regular bell schedule, allowing students access to lockers and locker rooms and the return of the elementary school early morning drop off program. Portable washing stations will remain in place.

No daily health screenings will be required and with the mask policy in place, no contract tracing will be necessary except for lunchtime when masks are removed to eat, Dr. Burak said. During lunchtime, students will be cohorted at tables so contract tracing while masks are off will be limited. Should a student be required to quarantine, asynchronous learning will be available at the secondary level. Elementary learning options are still being developed at this time.

Partitions will be taken down throughout the schools with the exception of speech instruction. On Sept. 9, the district will offer rapid testing at every building conducted by Around the Clock (ATC) Testing. Registration will be available online.

The board of education also approved the contract for the Universal Prekindergarten Program for the 2021-2022 school year at the Barry and Florence Friedberg Jewish Community Center (JCC) at the 1 Saperstein Plaza campus in Lynbrook. Dr. Burak said she feels comfortable with the supervisors and staff in place at the center, and the district will be actively involved in the UPK program.

Due to space limitations, the JCC can only provide 48 seats for the program, and the district will conduct a virtual lottery on Friday, Aug. 13. The program is open to children residing in the school district who turn 4-years-old on or before Dec. 1 of the current school year. Eligible students must be born between Dec. 2, 2016, and Dec. 1, 2017. This state-funded program follows 180-day school calendar and runs five days a week from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. beginning Sept. 9. Transportation will not be provided by the district.

Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for finance, operations, and information systems, shared a capital projects update with the community. At Lynbrook High School, the new wing and the science rooms will be ready for the start of the school year. In meeting with ADA guidelines, the elevator, chair lift and ramp at Marion Street are being installed over the summer. He anticipates the elevator will be complete by the fall.

Board of Education President William Belmont welcomed and acknowledged the new staff members in attendance at the meeting. He also announced the passing of Mary Jane Phillips. She served as the stenographic secretary at Lynbrook High School for 33 years from 1975 to 2008. The board expressed its sorrow and sympathy to her family.

Following public comment, the board accepted donations of five owl carpets, a donation of books valued at approximately $1,400 and two sensory pathways from the Parent Teacher Association at Marion Street.