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Hewlett-Woodmere School District adjusts reopening plan

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Even after formalizing its reopening plan at the Aug. 18 Board of Education meeting, Hewlett-Woodmere School District officials continue to tinker and make adjustments.

The district mask wearing policy was a focus of discussion. Recent district hire and interim Deputy Superintendent David Flatley said at the meeting that the district’s reopening task force would discuss mask-wearing protocols.

“All students and staff will be required to wear masks when entering and exiting the school buildings, while riding the school bus, ​at bus stops, while in hallways, bathrooms, common areas, while in cafeterias (except when eating), in the classroom, and whenever on school grounds,” Flatley said, was the updated policy. “Mask breaks for students will be at the teacher’s direction and primarily occur when socially distanced and seated while working/listening independently within the classroom.”

Flatley added that at the elementary level, a mask break will occur at least every 30 minutes. The secondary level will have one break during each class period. He also noted that there will be possible discipline for students who refuse to wear a face mask or covering.

“Teachers and principals will consult with elementary students who do not comply with the wearing of masks and repeated offenses will require a parent consultation,” he said. “Secondary students who refuse to wear a mask, or continually remove their mask, may be subject to disciplinary action, including the eventual removal from in-person instruction.”

Superintendent Dr. Ralph Marino Jr. reiterated that the current plan calls for full-person instruction to tentatively begin on Oct. 5. Online and hybrid instruction began on Tuesday.

“It is our intention to begin full in-person instruction on October 5, contingent on achievement of social distancing requirements, the arrival of student and teacher desk barriers, and additional desks for our elementary schools,” he said in an email. “Our faculty and staff returned to their buildings on Sept. 1 to begin final preparation for the students’ arrival.”

The district sent a survey to parents in August where nearly 72 percent of district parents surveyed chose full in-person instruction and 17 percent picked the hybrid model — a combination of remote learning and in-person teaching — while 11.4 percent opted for full online instruction.

If a student were to test positive for Covid-19 when in-person instruction is underway, Flatley noted that once the Nassau County Health Department conducts an investigation, he will be called and notified of the details.

“Depending on the specifics of the case and potential exposures, additional close contacts will be elicited, and quarantine and/or notification may be determined,” he said. “Very often, these determinations are made in partnership with the health department. It is recognized that we can always be more restrictive than county health department recommendations.”