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Island Park School District plans for reopening in fall

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Island Park School District is developing plans to reopen Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School and Lincoln Orens Middle School in the fall.
Island Park School District is developing plans to reopen Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School and Lincoln Orens Middle School in the fall.
Christina Daly/Herald

Island Park School District has convened a task force of parents, teachers, staff and administrators to develop a plan for reopening schools in September.

Assistant Superintendent Vincent Randazzo sent a letter to parents on July 17 explaining the district’s efforts to provide “a safe and equitable return to school for all students” with the understanding that “the reopening plan has many educational, economic, and childcare implications for our families.”

The district received official reopening guidelines from the New York State Education Department on July 16 and will work over the next two weeks to ensure its plans align with those regulations, as well as recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That guidance includes protocols for social distancing and wearing of face coverings, among other procedures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Randazzo said the district’s plans will be in the works through July 31, when they are due to the state. The district is looking into both in-person and a combination of in-person and remote teaching and learning models. Randazzo encouraged families to check the district’s website and Facebook page each Friday — July 24 and 31 — for updates on this process.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to deliver his final decision on schools reopening sometime in the first week of August. On Aug. 3, the district will hold a special business meeting of the Board of Education to discuss its final plans. The meeting will be held virtually via WebEx video conferencing at 6:30 p.m. Any questions regarding schools reopening can be submitted to webmaster@islandparkschools.org to be answered at this meeting.

“We appreciate your patience during this process,” Randazzo wrote, “and assure you that we have been meeting with teachers, staff, administrators and parents. All of our stakeholders are working tirelessly to provide the best educational setting for our students.”