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Nurse pods expand learning spaces at Glen Cove schools

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Parked outside the elementary school buildings of Gribbin, Connolly and Landing are nurse pods. These trailers are equipped with everything nurses will need to treat students who are feeling unwell.

Superintendent Dr. Maria Rianna said children would be accompanied by a faculty member when going to the nurse pod, which the district acquired in late January. Inside each pod, there will also be an isolation space so that the nurses can monitor people with Covid-19 symptoms. The pods are still undergoing some renovations amid the February snowstorms.

“Due to the pandemic, we had to make adjustments like every district to the space allocations,” Rianna said, “including how many students and staff we can have in a particular classroom.”

Once the district was able to decipher what parents wanted their children to have — more in-person or remote instruction — then it became a matter of deciphering how to appropriately utilize all the space within the school building.

In order to do that, while still complying with state mandates, the district looked at each school building, Rianna explained. At the elementary level, district officials realized that if the nurses office were to be moved into trailers outside, additional class space could be gained for in-person instruction. Meanwhile, at Eugene J. Gribbin Elementary School, the nurses office was moved so that students in a nearby learning space could use that bathroom. 

“Nurse pods allowed us to have a nurses office as well as isolation areas that are mandated, as well as provide additional options within the building to be utilized for instructional space safely,” Rianna said. 

Getting nurse pods was something that had been discussed since the start of the school year. It was funding secured by Assemblyman Charles Lavine that helped the pods to come to fruition. 

“Utilizing money at this time that we had not budgeted — because you pass the budget before you knew some of these regulations — that gives us the opportunity to offset some of our unanticipated cost and we’re thrilled that Assemblyman Lavine helped us to be able to accomplish this,” Rianna said. 

Lavine has access to State and Municipal Facilities, or SAM, grants offered by New York state. “Municipal entities include school districts, so there was a quarter of a million left in allotment that I had from a couple of years ago,” Lavine explained. “When I learned that the Glen Cove City School District needed these pods in order to free up sufficient space for instruction for Covid-19 era instruction, I was very pleased to have been able to distribute that money to … the district.  

It is our responsibility to educate, protect and nurture these children and I am always happy to help to do that,” Lavine added.