Great Neck Public Schools
SCHOOL REOPENING PLAN 2020-2021
The Great Neck Public Schools is committed to delivering an outstanding educational program that supports the academic, social, and emotional growth of all students in a safe learning environment. Safety has always been the number one priority of our district, and our focus on health and safety is even stronger in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Our school buildings have been closed to students since the issuance of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order in March. On July 13, Gov. Cuomo announced that school districts in New York can follow plans to reopen for in-school instruction in September if COVID-19 infection rates stay at 5% or lower in a given region. Determinations will be made by region about opening and closing schools as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
As we prepare to return to learning in September, this plan outlines the considerations that our district will address in order to reopen schools and sustain their safe operation. The development of this plan was guided by and grounded in the following guiding principles:
- Designed with everyone’s safety in mind;
- Delivers equity and equal access to educational excellence for all students;
- Consistent with best practices;
- Meets the unique academic, social, and emotional needs of all learners;
- Practical and manageable to implement; and
- Predictable and sustainable over an extended period of time.
We have developed a plan that intends to ensure that students and staff feel comfortable and safe returning to school buildings. It is aligned with regulations set forth by the New York State Education Department (NYSED), and guidance from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition to recommendations from education and health experts, the district also solicited input from stakeholders across our school community to drive the development of our plan.
This past spring, the district established a School Reopening Advisory Committee and five subcommittees to evaluate potential scenarios for the delivery of instruction for the 2020-21 school year. More than 100 individuals representing stakeholders across our school community dedicated countless hours to evaluate the needs of our community, review guidelines, discuss options for the safe delivery of instruction, and offer valuable recommendations for the start of the new school year. As a result of their contributions, our district has a comprehensive plan that addresses concerns and presents strategies in support of a safe return to learning for September.
Recommendations from state health and education officials will remain at the forefront of decision making as we move to open our schools. This reopening plan is fluid and will change as necessary. We recognize that regional changes in infection rates and new directives from the Governor may result in the need to alternate between in-school and remote learning throughout the year, and plans are in place to support a smooth transition between modes of instruction if needed.
Dr. Joseph Hickey, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education and Pupil Services (441-4970), has been designated as the district’s COVID-19 Safety Coordinator. Dr. Hickey will serve as a central contact for schools and the Nassau County Department of Health, stakeholders, families, staff, and other community members, to ensure the district is in compliance and following the best practices per state and federal guidelines.
We strongly believe that the services described throughout this plan are in the best interests of our students, families, staff, and the entire school community. We will continue to closely monitor developments related to COVID-19 and communicate updates to our school community.