To slow the outbreak of the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus, which as of Tuesday afternoon had killed two and infected 139 people in Nassau County, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the closure of all public and private schools, including those in Valley Stream, until April 1.
Additionally, following federal and state guidelines, the village closed all its indoor community facilities indefinitely. Parks and playgrounds were to remain open, however.
Cuomo made the school-closure announcement on Tuesday. It superseded an order on Sunday by County Executive Laura Curran that closed schools until March 27. In the Valley Stream Central High School District, Superintendent Dr. Bill Heidenreich said the closure applied to all activities, including clubs, athletics, PTA meetings and any other event that would normally take place on district grounds.
According to the announcement, learning for the district’s roughly 4,500 junior and senior high school students will continue remotely through online lessons, although Heidenreich acknowledged that they would not fully replicate those that would have taken place in the classroom.
In District 30, Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Stirling made a similar announcement, saying its schools would also move to a remote-learning format, with details to be posted on the district’s website by Wednesday, after the Herald went to press.
In District 13, all school activities, meetings and events were canceled, according to a letter from Superintendent Dr. Constance Evelyn posted on the district website, with no information on rescheduling.
“We understand that this announcement poses an inconvenience to our community,” Evelyn wrote. “The spread of the coronavirus is continuously changing the world in which we are living. This is an evolving situation, and we thank you for your patience and flexibility.”
Parents received a 10-day instruction packet to help students continue lessons at home. The packet was sent home Friday, when District 13 initially planned to close for two days for extensive sanitizing of school facilities.
In District 24, Dr. Don Sturz said that remote learning would begin Wednesday, and provided details on how parents could log into the district’s lesson web portal.
According to a memo to Nassau County superintendents from Curran, administrators and teachers may still enter school buildings during the shutdown. School districts are allowed to:
Ask 12-month employees to report to their buildings.
Provide professional development instruction to staff.
Provide distance learning if necessary.
Village facilities close
In addition to schools, Valley Stream village facilities, except for parks and playgrounds, are closed until further notice. Village trustee elections have been postponed to April 28, according to an executive order by Cuomo.
According to notifications sent to residents on Monday, access to Village Hall will be limited to visits by appointment, except for the delivery of trustee election absentee ballot applications. Additionally, all village court dates are canceled until further notice. Residents are advised to call (516) 825-4200 for questions and appointments.
Village facilities affected by the closures are:
— The Henry Waldinger Memorial Library.
— The Pagan-Fletcher Restoration.
— The Hendrickson Park Community Center.
— The Firemen’s Field Clubhouse.
— All basketball, tennis and handball courts.
All village parks will remain open, but park buildings and restrooms are closed until further notice. Playgrounds, too, will re-main open, and equipment will be cleaned regularly. All other services — Fire Department, sanitation, public works, code enforcement and public safety — will continue to operate.