• Great Neck Public Schools

    SCHOOL REOPENING 2020-2021

    Messages to the Community

    School Reopening 2020-2021

October 12, 2020

  • Positive COVID-19 Case at South High School

    October 12, 2020

    Dear GNPS Community:

    Late this afternoon, our district received notification that a staff member at South High School tested positive for COVID-19. Due to privacy laws, information regarding this individual’s identity cannot be released.

    Our buildings are cleaned and disinfected every evening, and the spaces accessible by the individual (classrooms, hallways, and bathrooms) will be sanitized before the start of the school day tomorrow.

    We are working with the Nassau County Department of Health (DOH) as they conduct contact tracing. The DOH will contact individuals identified as “close contacts” and inform them of the next steps. Close contact is defined as being within six feet of the infected individual for at least 10 minutes, without a mask. Anyone who is not directly notified can conclude their child has not been deemed a close contact, and there is nothing more they need to do at this time.

    Guidelines from the DOH require infected individuals and members of their household to quarantine for 14 days. Further, district protocols require individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to receive a note from their healthcare professional before returning to school.

    It’s important to remember that the health and safety protocols in place in all our buildings—including wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing, and daily cleaning/sanitizing of facilities—were intentionally designed to mitigate the risk to students and staff in the event a positive case was identified.

    Everyone in our school community should continue to monitor for any COVID-related symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, and other symptoms outlined on the CDC website. Stay home when not feeling well, and contact your healthcare provider if you or your child exhibit any of these symptoms.

    The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. Thank you for your understanding and ongoing cooperation with our COVID-19 prevention policies and procedures. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide updates as needed.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Teresa Prendergast
    Superintendent of Schools

     

October 7, 2020

  • Positive COVID-19 Case at Parkville School

    October 7, 2020 

    Dear GNPS Community:

    This afternoon, our district received notification that a student at Parkville School tested positive for COVID-19. The student has not been in school for a prolonged period of time. Due to privacy laws, information regarding this individual’s identity cannot be released.

    Our buildings are cleaned and disinfected every evening. We are working with the Nassau County Department of Health (DOH) as they conduct contact tracing. The DOH will contact individuals identified as “close contacts” and inform them of the next steps. Close contact is defined as being within six feet of the infected individual for at least 10 minutes, without a mask. Anyone who is not directly notified can conclude their child has not been deemed a close contact, and there is nothing more they need to do at this time.

    Guidelines from the DOH require infected individuals and members of their household to quarantine for 14 days. Further, district protocols require individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to receive a note from their healthcare professional before returning to school.

    It’s important to remember that the health and safety protocols in place in all our buildings—including wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing, and daily cleaning/sanitizing of facilities—were intentionally designed to mitigate the risk to students and staff in the event a positive case was identified.

    Everyone in our school community should continue to monitor for any COVID-related symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, and other symptoms outlined on the CDC website. Stay home when not feeling well, and contact your healthcare provider if you or your child exhibit any of these symptoms.

    The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. Thank you for your understanding and ongoing cooperation with our COVID-19 prevention policies and procedures. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide updates as needed.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Teresa Prendergast
    Superintendent of Schools

October 5, 2020

  • Positive COVID-19 Case at South Middle School

    October 5, 2020

    Dear GNPS Community:

    This morning, our district received notification that a student at South Middle School tested positive for COVID-19. The student has not been in school for a prolonged period of time. Due to privacy laws, information regarding this individual’s identity cannot be released.

    Our buildings are cleaned and disinfected every evening. We are working with the Nassau County Department of Health (DOH) as they conduct contact tracing. The DOH will contact individuals identified as “close contacts” and inform them of the next steps. Close contact is defined as being within six feet of the infected individual for at least 10 minutes, without a mask. Anyone who is not directly notified can conclude their child has not been deemed a close contact, and there is nothing more they need to do at this time.

    Guidelines from the DOH require infected individuals and members of their household to quarantine for 14 days. Further, district protocols require individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to receive a note from their healthcare professional before returning to school.

    It’s important to remember that the health and safety protocols in place in all our buildings—including wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing, and daily cleaning/sanitizing of facilities—were intentionally designed to mitigate the risk to students and staff in the event a positive case was identified.

    Everyone in our school community should continue to monitor for any COVID-related symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, and other symptoms outlined on the CDC website. Stay home when not feeling well, and contact your healthcare provider if you or your child exhibit any of these symptoms.

    The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. Thank you for your understanding and ongoing cooperation with our COVID-19 prevention policies and procedures. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide updates as needed.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Teresa Prendergast
    Superintendent of Schools

October 2, 2020

  • October 2, 2020

    Dear GNPS School Community:

    The New York State Department of Health recently issued a nine-page document to help parents, school employees, and school officials make decisions regarding who belongs in school when symptoms associated with COVID-19 arise. Please take a moment to review this document, which may help answer questions about addressing symptoms, student/staff attendance, and contact tracing.

    https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/10/prek-gr12_toolkit.pdf

    Our district protocols are aligned with guidance from health officials, and we continue to work in consultation with the Nassau County Department of Health regarding any new developments. Thank you for your continued cooperation with our prevention policies and procedures to help protect our students, staff, and families.   

    Regards,
    Dr. Teresa Prendergast
    Superintendent of Schools

October 1, 2020

  • Positive COVID-19 Case at North High School

    October 1, 2020

    Dear GNPS Community:

    This afternoon, our district received notification that a student at North High School tested positive for COVID-19. Due to privacy laws, information regarding this individual’s identity cannot be released.

    Our buildings are cleaned and disinfected every evening, and the spaces accessible by the individual (including classrooms, hallways, and bathrooms) will be sanitized again before the start of school tomorrow morning.

    We are working with the Nassau County Department of Health (DOH) as they conduct contact tracing. The DOH will contact individuals identified as “close contacts” and inform them of the next steps. Close contact is defined as being within six feet of the infected individual for at least 10 minutes, without a mask. Anyone who is not directly notified can conclude their child has not been deemed a close contact, and there is nothing more they need to do at this time.

    Guidelines from the DOH require infected individuals and members of their household to quarantine for 14 days. Further, district protocols require individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to receive a note from their healthcare professional before returning to school.

    It’s important to remember that the health and safety protocols in place in all our buildings—including wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing, and daily cleaning/sanitizing of facilities—were intentionally designed to mitigate the risk to students and staff in the event a positive case was identified.

    Everyone in our school community should continue to monitor for any COVID-related symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, and other symptoms outlined on the CDC website. Stay home when not feeling well, and contact your healthcare provider if you or your child exhibit any of these symptoms.

    The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. Thank you for your understanding and ongoing cooperation with our COVID-19 prevention policies and procedures. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide updates as needed.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Teresa Prendergast
    Superintendent of Schools

September 29, 2020

  • Positive COVID-19 Case at Saddle Rock School

     

    September 29, 2020

    Dear GNPS School Community:

    This afternoon, our district received notification that a staff member at Saddle Rock School tested positive for COVID-19. Due to privacy laws, information regarding this individual’s identity cannot be released.

    In accordance with our District protocol at the elementary level, the teacher and students in class who worked with the infected individual have transitioned to remote instruction for a period of 14 calendar days of proximate contact. Members of this class have already been contacted and all other classes at Saddle Rock School will continue with in-person learning.

    The infected staff member has had very limited interaction with other Saddle Rock School students or staff. Our buildings are cleaned and disinfected every evening, and the spaces accessible by the individual (classrooms, hallways, and bathrooms) will be sanitized before the start of the school day.

    We are working with the Nassau County Department of Health (DOH) as they conduct contact tracing. The DOH will contact individuals identified as “close contacts” and inform them of the next steps. Close contact is defined as being within six feet of the infected individual for at least 10 minutes, without a mask. Anyone who is not directly notified can conclude their child has not been deemed a close contact, and there is nothing more they need to do at this time.

    Guidelines from the DOH require infected individuals and members of their household to quarantine for 14 days. Further, district protocols require individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to receive a note from their healthcare professional before returning to school.

    It’s important to remember that the health and safety protocols in place in all our buildings—including wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing, and daily cleaning/sanitizing of facilities—were intentionally designed to mitigate the risk to students and staff in the event a positive case was identified.

    Everyone in our school community should continue to monitor for any COVID-related symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, and other symptoms outlined on the CDC website. Stay home when not feeling well, and contact your healthcare provider if you or your child exhibit any of these symptoms.

    The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. Thank you for your understanding and ongoing cooperation with our COVID-19 prevention policies and procedures. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide updates as needed.

    Sincerely,
    Dr. Teresa Prendergast
    Superintendent of Schools

September 25, 2020

  • Positive COVID-19 Case at North High School

    September 25, 2020

    Dear GNPS Community:

    Very late this afternoon, our district received notification that a student at North High School tested positive for COVID-19. Due to privacy laws, information regarding this individual’s identity cannot be released.

    Our buildings are cleaned and disinfected every evening, and the spaces accessible by the individual (including classrooms, hallways, and bathrooms) will be sanitized again before the start of school on Tuesday.

    We are working with the Nassau County Department of Health (DOH) as they conduct contact tracing. The DOH will contact individuals identified as “close contacts” and inform them of the next steps. Close contact is defined as being within six feet of the infected individual for at least 10 minutes, without a mask. Anyone who is not directly notified can conclude their child has not been deemed a close contact, and there is nothing more they need to do at this time.

    Guidelines from the DOH require infected individuals and members of their household to quarantine for 14 days. Further, district protocols require individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to receive a note from their healthcare professional before returning to school.

    It’s important to remember that the health and safety protocols in place in all our buildings—including wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing, and daily cleaning/sanitizing of facilities—were intentionally designed to mitigate the risk to students and staff in the event a positive case was identified.

    Everyone in our school community should continue to monitor for any COVID-related symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, and other symptoms outlined on the CDC website. Stay home when not feeling well, and contact your healthcare provider if you or your child exhibit any of these symptoms.

    The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. Thank you for your understanding and ongoing cooperation with our COVID-19 prevention policies and procedures. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide updates as needed.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Teresa Prendergast
    Superintendent of Schools

September 18, 2020

  • Positive COVID-19 Case at John F. Kennedy School

    September 18, 2020

    Dear GNPS Community:

     Very early this morning, our district received notification that a student at the John F. Kennedy School has tested positive for COVID-19. Due to privacy laws, information regarding this individual’s identity cannot be released.

    In accordance with our District protocol at the elementary level, the teacher and students in class with the infected individual have transitioned to remote instruction for a period of 14 calendar days. Members of this class were contacted directly and are not in school today. All other classes at JFK will continue with in-person learning.

    The infected student has had very limited interaction with other JFK students or staff. Our buildings are cleaned and disinfected every evening, and the spaces accessible by the individual (including the classroom, hallways, and bathrooms) were sanitized again early this morning before the start of the school day.

    We are working with the Nassau County Department of Health (DOH) as they conduct contact tracing. The DOH will contact individuals identified as “close contacts” and inform them of the next steps. Close contact is defined as being within six feet of the infected individual for at least 10 minutes, without a mask. Anyone who is not directly notified can conclude their child has not been deemed a close contact, and there is nothing more they need to do at this time.

     Guidelines from the DOH require infected individuals and members of their household to quarantine for 14 days. Further, District protocols require individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to receive a note from their healthcare professional before returning to school.

     It’s important to remember that the health and safety protocols in place in all our buildings—including wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing, and daily cleaning/sanitizing of facilities—were intentionally designed to mitigate the risk to students and staff in the event a positive case was identified.

     Everyone in our school community should continue to monitor for any COVID-related symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, and other symptoms outlined on the CDC website. Stay home when not feeling well, and contact your healthcare provider if you or your child exhibit any of these symptoms.

     The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. Thank you for your understanding and ongoing cooperation with our COVID-19 prevention policies and procedures. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide updates as needed.

     Sincerely,

    Dr. Teresa Prendergast
    Superintendent of Schools

September 15, 2020

  • Dr. Prendergast shared this Welcome Back message with the GNPS school community as a video message, which is available on our website. 


    After many months of careful planning, I am pleased to report that we had a smooth start to the new school year. We had a very good first day on Tuesday, September 8, and it’s been amazing to see our students and staff back in our school buildings for the first time since March. 

    In our hallways, in classrooms, and online, our teachers and students are happy to reconnect with one another. The joy is unmistakable, even if their big smiles are covered by face masks. Yes, some things look a little different due to new safety measures, but the heart of our schools—our commitment to excellence and the connections between our students and our exceptional staff—remains unchanged.

    Our teachers have done an amazing job preparing lessons—some in person, some remotely, and some juggling both simultaneously! This is a completely new way of teaching and learning, and we are grateful for your cooperation as we navigate this new landscape together.

    It took a tremendous amount of work to get to our long-awaited reopening. Thank you to our administrators, building principals, and all the staff behind the scenes who put our reopening plan into action, including our custodial staff, transportation, food services, and support staff. 

    Now that we’ve successfully reopened our schools, we want to keep it that way! Each of us has a role to play in keeping our schools safe. We can all do our part by remembering to follow the three W’s: wash your hands, wear a mask, and watch your distance. And if you’re not feeling well, please stay home. By following health guidelines, we can help keep our community safe and our schools open. 

    We are committed to providing our students and staff with a safe environment for learning and teaching, and the quality educational program that our community expects and deserves. 

    Working in partnership with parents and community members, we’ve overcome daunting challenges over the past six months. We will likely encounter more unexpected obstacles in the weeks and months ahead, but I am confident we’ll continue to persevere by working together and supporting one another. 

    I look forward to an exciting and productive school year. Thank you, and remember—We Are Great Neck Strong.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Teresa Prendergast
    Superintendent of Schools 

August 28, 2020

  • August 28, 2020

    Dear GNPS School Community, 

    In order to allow our staff additional time to prepare for the upcoming school year, the first day of school for students has been changed to Tuesday, September 8.

    Parents will receive additional information from building principals in the days ahead. 

    We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we make our final preparations for the start of the new school year. Please note that the district will be closed on Monday, September 7, in observance of Labor Day. We look forward to welcoming students back on Tuesday, September 8.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Teresa Prendergast 
    Superintendent of Schools

August 21, 2020

  • August 21, 2020

    Dear GNPS School Community:

    As this week comes to a close, I hope that our reopening presentations and meetings have provided families and faculty with answers to questions regarding our plans for the new school year. This week, district and building administrators hosted more than 15 presentations, starting with a district-wide presentation during Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting, followed by meetings for faculty and building-level presentations for the community. This is part of our established communication plans to keep students, parents, faculty, and staff informed as the beginning of this unique school year gets closer. We will continue to hold information sessions over the coming days and weeks. 

    While we can all recognize that this upcoming school year will look different than years past, one thing is for certain: we are committed to supporting the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff and we are exceeding recommended daily precautions to keep our school community safe as we begin the new school year.

    Our district has worked diligently over the past several months to implement a reopening plan that goes above and beyond the recommended health and safety guidelines set by the local and state Departments of Health and the CDC. We’ve reimagined our operations and made significant investments to provide the safest educational environment possible for our students, faculty, and staff. These measures were reviewed in detail during Wednesday night’s reopening presentation, which is available on the district website. I’d like to highlight just a few of them here.

    Sanitizing: New protocols and cleaning schedules have been developed for the daily sanitizing and disinfecting of district facilities. Cleaning products will be available in each classroom, and we’re adding staff to support building-wide cleaning and disinfecting efforts. GNPS was one of the first districts to own an electro-static misting machine to sanitize large spaces, and we now have 25 of these machines available throughout the district. We’re also the second district in New York to utilize the Bio-Protect Anti-Microbial Technology Surface Protection System, an anti-fungal and anti-viral product applied to high-contact surfaces that lasts for 90 days.

    Hygiene: More than 700 hand sanitizing stations are strategically placed throughout our buildings in classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, and workspaces. Students, faculty, and staff will be encouraged to wash hands with soap and water more frequently throughout the day. Additional touchless flushometers, sink faucets, and soap dispensers have been installed in our bathrooms. Five hundred signs and almost 5,000 decals placed around our schools will provide visual cues in support of the “Three W’s”: Wash your hands, Wear a mask, and Watch your distance.

    Face Masks: The wearing of masks is required of everyone in our buildings. Masks must fit snuggly, cover the nose and mouth, and be made of acceptable material -- either disposable surgical masks or form-fitting cloth masks with two layers of densely woven material. Neck gators and bandanas are not permitted. The CDC does not recommend masks that have a one-way valve or vent, as these masks do not prevent spreading the virus to others. Cloth masks should be washed frequently, and families should consider having multiple masks for each child.

    Ventilation: We’ve consulted with our architect and engineering partners to optimize our ventilation systems. We’ve upgraded to higher-rated air filters, purchased 70 new air purification systems, and we’ll continue to maintain our stringent filter maintenance program. Open windows and fresh air dampers on all ventilation equipment will maximize the circulation of fresh air in our facilities.

    Health Screenings: To support our daily health screening protocols, we’ve purchased over 300 infrared forehead thermometers to facilitate contactless temperature screenings for all students, staff, and visitors. 

    Social Distancing: We’re redesigning classroom seating arrangements and exceeding social distancing recommendations issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics. We’re also installing 400 NYSED-approved polycarbonate shields in small classrooms, guidance offices, and main offices. 

    Transportation: We’re reducing the number of students on each bus and implementing health and safety protocols for boarding, seating, and disembarking the bus. High-contact surfaces will be disinfected after each morning and afternoon route, and vehicles will be sanitized using electro-static sprayers. Masks must be worn by all students, drivers, and monitors while boarding, riding and exiting the bus. 

    Food & Nutrition: A new interactive online menu system on our website is integrated with our payment system so families can view menu options, review nutrition and allergen information, and place lunch orders in advance. Cafeterias in our secondary schools will use a swipe-card payment system for cashless, contactless payments. 

    Health and safety guidelines have also forced us to reimagine what instruction will look like. For the 75 percent of families who have expressed the preference for in-school instruction for their children, we’ve coordinated logistics to ensure that class sizes are small. At the elementary level, this translates to 9-12 students per Pre-K class and 12-16 students for K-5 classes. Our hybrid instructional model at the middle and high schools decreases our daily student density by more than 50 percent, allowing for smaller class sizes and more space for social distancing. 

    These are unprecedented times. Every aspect of the school reopening process presents challenges and the need for creative, effective solutions. Our plan will help the district as a whole to foster the healthy and nurturing academic environment in each of our buildings that our community expects and deserves. 

    We understand that parents, students, faculty, and staff still have questions about the reopening. We are committed to continuing to keep our entire school community informed, and we will continue to answer any questions you may have about procedures and protocols. Please be sure to check our school reopening webpage (www.greatneck.k12.ny.us/reopening) for the latest reopening information, including our complete reopening plan, copies of district presentations, community messages, and resources from health and education officials.  

    Even though this school year will look different and will be unique in its approach, our love for teaching and our passion for helping our students excel both in the classroom and beyond remains unchanged. By working together, we can overcome any challenges that may come our way. We are Great Neck Strong.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Teresa Prendergast
    Superintendent of Schools

August 14, 2020

  • August 14, 2020

    Dear GNPS School Community:

    Last Friday, the Governor made his long-awaited announcement about reopening schools in September. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Gov. Cuomo stated that schools are permitted to open this fall as long as regional infection rates remain low. Based on this guidance, as well as current recommendations from education and health officials, we’ll continue to move forward with our plans to reopen school buildings for students and staff.

    I’d like to share a few updates with our students, families, and staff as we prepare for the start of the new school year.

    First Day of School

    The first day of school for students has been changed (again) to Thursday, September 3. This change allows the district to offer faculty three full days of professional development before welcoming students back to school. Superintendent’s Conference Days for staff will take place on Monday, August 31, Tuesday, September 1, and Wednesday, September 2.

    NYS Travel Advisory

    Even though this summer is unlike any that we’ve ever experienced before, I sincerely hope that our families are finding ways to relax and enjoy quality time together. For those with out-of-state or international travel plans, please keep in mind New York State’s Travel Advisory. An Executive Order by Gov. Cuomo requires individuals returning from travel to select states to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. The restricted list includes states with a positive test rate higher than 10%, or 10 per 100,000 residents, over a seven-day rolling average. If returning from international travel, please consult the CDC guidelines on suggested 14-day quarantines.  We expect all staff, students, and families to abide by these requirements for the health and safety of our school community. Please plan accordingly as we move toward the first day of school on September 3.

    Reopening Presentation

    As previously announced, we’ll present an overview of our reopening plan during the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, August 19 at 8 p.m. via live stream. This presentation will touch upon key aspects of our reopening at every level and answer questions submitted by all members of our school community. Topics to be covered include: health and safety protocols, ventilation, transportation, temperature checks, food services, COVID testing and tracing, in-school and remote learning programs, to name a few. Directions for viewing the meeting will be posted on the homepage of our district website.

    COVID-19 Testing & Contact Tracing Information

    We are actively awaiting guidance from the Nassau County Department of Health (DOH) about testing and contact tracing procedures. We’re in frequent communication with representatives from the DOH, and I anticipate having more details at next week’s Board meeting.

    Remote Learning

    Parents will receive information about the secondary level hybrid model of instruction and the exclusive remote learning models in an email update next week. Specific details will also be shared during the Board of Education meeting.

    SCOPE After-school Child Care

    After listening to the concerns of parents and speaking with our elementary principals, we’ve decided to continue offering SCOPE after-school child care services for this school year. This is a change from our original reopening plan. 

    Temperature Checks

    As outlined in our reopening plan, all parents/guardians will be required to take their child(ren)’s temperature before they leave for school in the morning. Children who have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, or are exhibiting symptoms of COVID, must stay home.

    Daily temperature screenings for all students and staff will also be conducted upon arrival to school. The district has purchased infrared forehead thermometers to conduct contactless temperature screenings. Students with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will be escorted to a designated quarantine space within the school building, and a parent/guardian will be contacted to pick up their child.

    Face Masks

    As I’ve mentioned before, please take time over the next few weeks to help your child acclimate to wearing a face mask for extended periods. There are lots of different mask styles in a variety of fun colors and patterns. Finding one that’s comfortable and “cool” will help ease the transition to wearing masks in school. Students are also required to wear face masks while boarding, riding and exiting the school bus. Mask breaks will be incorporated into the school day, in accordance with health guidelines. 


    Building principals and I will provide you with updates as the new school year draws near. Information and resources about our school reopening are also posted on the district website at www.greatneck.k12.ny.us/reopening. I hope that the upcoming Board presentation and our ongoing communication will provide our community with answers, understanding, and confidence that we’re doing everything possible to support a safe return to school.

    Regards,

    Dr. Teresa Prendergast

August 5, 2020

  • August 5, 2020

    Dear GNPS Community: 

    I hope this message finds you and your family safe following Tropical Storm Isaias. I know many of our community members are dealing with power outages and downed trees, and I wish everyone a quick recovery and clean-up from the storm.  

    As promised, I’m writing to provide an update about our 2020-21 Reopening Plan, which I submitted to the State last Friday. While there’s still considerable uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and its impact on the coming school year, our plan intends to ensure that our students, families, faculty and staff feel safe and comfortable as we return to learning in September.

    The entire GNPS Reopening Plan is available on our website. The 42-page document outlines considerations for the safe and effective delivery of instruction in three scenarios: in-school instruction, a hybrid model, and remote instruction. The plan also provides detailed information on health and safety measures, building practices, child nutrition, transportation, technology and connectivity, special education, ENL, and the social-emotional and mental health needs of our school community.

    Based on current guidance and criteria from State officials, we still anticipate reopening our school buildings as I’ve outlined in previous updates. However, our plan is dependent upon recommendations from education and health officials, and it may be revised in the weeks and months ahead based on new directives from the Governor, New York State Education Department (SED), and New York State Department of Health (DOH). Governor Cuomo has indicated that he’ll make a decision about reopening schools later this week.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100 individuals who served on our School Reopening Advisory Committee and its five subcommittees, including administrators, faculty, staff, parents/guardians, health professionals, law enforcement, and Board of Education trusteesI am grateful for their time, ideas, and recommendations.  Members reviewed guidance from education and health officials, shared data from surveys conducted within our community, and discussed a variety of possible solutions for issues that schools have never even had to consider before. As a result of their contributions, our district has a comprehensive plan that we believe presents the best options for our school community.

    I've heard from many parents and staff members over the past week regarding our reopening plan. Some expressed their appreciation, others shared concerns, and almost everyone has questions. I recognize that there are many different opinions on the reopening of schools, and those differing opinions are shared by our parents, faculty and staff as well. Our plan aims to accommodate the needs of our entire school community as we move toward a return to teaching and learning for all.

    As I stated in my last update on July 29, parents who want their child(ren) to receive exclusive remote learning in September must fill out this remote learning form no later than 3 p.m. today. Parents who select the exclusive remote learning option will be contacted by the district in November with an opportunity for their child to return to in-school instruction in January (after the winter break), or to continue remote learning.

    As a reminder, an in-depth presentation about our plan will take place during the Board of Education meeting on August 19 at 8 p.m. via live stream. Questions may be submitted via a link posted on the district homepage beginning this Friday, August 7 through Friday, August 14.

    The first day of school is approximately four weeks away. As we’ve witnessed over the past few months, a lot can change in that amount of time. We’re doing everything we can to prepare for a safe return to learning in September. No matter what happens, we remain firm in our commitment to delivering an outstanding educational program for all students while being flexible enough to meet the challenges that come our way.

    We’ll continue to monitor developments and share updates so we can all prepare for the start of another successful school year. Thank you for your continued patience, understanding, and most importantly, partnership. We all want what’s best for our students, families, faculty and staff, and we appreciate your support during these challenging times.

    Regards,

    Dr. Teresa Prendergast
    Superintendent of Schools

July 29, 2020

  • July 29, 2020

    Dear GNPS Community:

    Good morning. I hope you're all staying well and cool during this heat wave. It's seldom that I send out two lengthy emails within just a few days, but these are important and difficult days that warrant much communication with you all and I hope you read through this entire email as it contains a lot of important information pertaining to the 2020-21 school year. 

    Option for Remote Instruction

    The actor and writer Alan Alda once said, "Listening is being able to be changed by the other person." I know that my email last Thursday created some confusion and discomfort surrounding the options of full-time in-school instruction and exclusive remote learning. I know there were quite a number of families who did not meet the specified criteria to qualify for remote learning as outlined in my last communication. Since sending that email, we received further information from our legal counsel, and therefore, I have decided that we will change to an offer of exclusive remote learning for ALL who desire this for their children. As you can see, I listened. 

    If you select this choice to have your child exclusively receiving remote learning, please fill out the remote learning formRemote learning will consist of a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. All forms must be submitted by 3pm on Wednesday, August 5. Parents who have previously submitted the form do NOT need to re-submit. 

    We also recognize the difficulty in committing to exclusive remote learning for the entire 2020-21 school year. For that reason, in mid-November, you will receive an email asking if you wish to have your child remain with exclusive remote instruction for the balance of the 2020-21 school year, or if you wish to have your child move to in-school instruction. Responses will be due back no later than Tuesday, December 1 so that we will have time before the December break to make all necessary changes in order to welcome your child back to school on Monday, January 4, which is the first day back after the winter break. All of this will appear in the email you will receive in mid-November. 

    Please be aware that, based on the number of affirmative responses we receive on December 1, we cannot guarantee that in-class instruction will be held in your child's home school as we anticipate having to still adhere to the social distancing that is already in place, and there may be a limitation of space. In the event that it would be necessary, there is a possibility that we will require alternate classrooms in one of our satellite schools (i.e.: Cumberland Center.) 

    Temperature Screenings

    We will be requiring and conducting daily temperature checks of all students and staff. Parents are required to screen their child(ren) for a temperature each morning before sending their child(ren) to school. Students with a temperature of 100°F or greater must remain at home.  Students will also be screened daily for temperatures upon arrival to school. Any student with a temperature or signs of illness will be immediately isolated in a dedicated quarantine room at which time parents will be notified. Students will remain supervised prior to being picked up by a parent or guardian.

    First Day of School for Students

    My next announcement is that the new first day of school for students will be Wednesday, September 2. The reason for this change is to allow both Monday and Tuesday (August 31 and September 1) for use as Superintendent Conference Days. It is imperative that our staff have enough time for reviewing the final preparations for the first day of class on Wednesday (September 2).

    Board of Education Meeting

    In light of all of the changes we've proposed, central administrators will be very busy with the details for September, therefore we are moving the date for our end of summer Board meeting up from Wednesday, August 26 to Wednesday, August 19, at 8pm via livesteam. During this meeting we will discuss the reopening plan for schools with the community. Please submit any comments or questions for that Board meeting by Friday, August 14 at 3pm so that responses to your questions can be addressed during the presentation. Questions and comments may be submitted via a link posted on the District homepage beginning on Friday, August 7.

    Future Communications

    There will definitely be further emails sent out before then, but for those who were concerned about their response regarding instruction in September, I wanted to try to alleviate some of your stress by opening both options to everyone. 

    I know you would like to hear about a number of specifics regarding online instruction, but just as each classroom teacher discusses curriculum, expectations of students, and teaching methodology at Open House during the first week in September, the same schedule will be adhered to for this year via Zoom. 

    We recognize that for some, the remote instruction provided this spring was not up to Great Neck standards. We pledge to do better in the fall. 

    However, we know that nothing this year can be the same as it was before, and our hearts break for our children and our staff as well. We realize that September will require an understanding on everyone's part that we are all doing the best we can under these difficult circumstances. 

    As always, I thank you all for your patience and support. We are all partners and will get through these changes by working together. 

    Remember....we are Great Neck Strong. 

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Teresa Prendergast
    Superintendent of Schools

July 23, 2020

  • Dear GNPS Community, 

    Last Thursday, the State Education Department released a 144-page document with detailed guidance regarding all the regulations schools must follow in reopening for the fall. Just as many members of our community have been awaiting additional information about what instruction will look like in September, we had been anxiously awaiting this document from the State Education Department to ensure our plan’s compliance with State guidelines. 

    While we continue to work out the details of our district’s reopening plan, I want to at least share some basic concepts in terms of what we anticipate for the start of the new school year. Please keep in mind that these plans may change based on revised guidance from the State, changes in regional infection rates, and other obstacles that may emerge.

    First, we believe that we can bring back all of our Pre-K through grade five students in September for full-time, in-school instruction, while maintaining six-feet of social distancing. We will also have all self-contained special education students and ENL students in grades K–12 return for full-time, in-school instruction. To accomplish this plan, we will reduce class sizes at the elementary level and use every available space in our buildings to meet six-feet social distancing guidelines.

    At the middle school and high school levels, where we don’t have as much building space to spread out students and staff, we will implement an A/B day hybrid model in September with alternating full days of in-school instruction and at-home remote instruction. To the extent possible, we will arrange for siblings in our middle schools and high schools to remain on the same hybrid (A/B day) schedule.

    In all of our school buildings, we will adhere to social distancing, require masks, reinforce proper hygiene, and limit entry to our buildings to essential personnel only. Comprehensive disinfecting practices will be in place throughout the school day, and all of our buildings will be deep-cleaned and sanitized each evening.

    Students and staff will be required to wear masks for most of the day, unless students have a medical reason for not being able to do so. We know that this might be difficult for some students, and we ask parents to take time over the summer to acclimate your child to wearing a mask for extended periods of time. Speaking with your child about the importance of wearing a mask and finding one that’s comfortable will ease the transition to wearing one daily at school. Students will be allowed to use their own masks from home, and face mask breaks will be incorporated into the school day.

    We recognize that some GNPS families have particular concerns about their children who may be medically vulnerable, or who reside in households with family members in high-risk groups. If you have such concerns, please fill out the form in the link below to help us evaluate and accommodate the needs of these students. Also, if you are eligible for bus transportation but plan to drive or walk your student to school, please fill out the form so we can take this into consideration as we develop our transportation plans. Click on this link to access the Bus Option and/or Exclusive Remote Learning form

    In regard to transportation, please note that we will not be providing courtesy bus passes for the 2020–21 school year. Additionally, due to social distancing, we won’t be able to accommodate elementary early morning drop-off.

    We know there are many more questions about the reopening of school, and we will provide more details as we finalize our plans. Updates will be sent more frequently over the coming weeks to keep our school community informed about developments. Thank you for your continued support, patience and partnership as we prepare for the start of the new school year.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Teresa Prendergast
    Superintendent of Schools

July 15, 2020

  • Dear GNPS School Community,

    As many of you know, the District formed a School Reopening Advisory Committee and several subcommittees to plan for the safe reopening of our schools in September. The work of these committees has been focused on developing plans for three possible scenarios:

    • Reopening of schools for in-person instruction
    • A hybrid model that includes both in-school and remote instruction
    • School buildings are closed and remote instruction is implemented

    At the current time, based on Governor Cuomo’s announcement on Monday, July 13, it is our expectation that our schools will reopen in some capacity. This is based on the Governor’s pronouncement that schools in regions in Phase IV can reopen if the daily infection rate in that region remains below five percent, using a 14-day average. The Long Island region currently meets this criterion. 

    Posted below is an overview of the work being done by the School Reopening Advisory Committee and the five subcommittees – Facilities, Health and Safety, Instruction, Building Protocols, and Transportation. It is important to note that all plans being developed by the School Reopening Advisory Committee and the subcommittees will be dependent upon guidance from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), New York State Education Department (NYSED), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Governor’s office.

    We know you have many questions regarding what the reopening of school will look like and how it will impact students, staff, and parents. What will classrooms look like and how many students can be in a classroom while still honoring social distancing? What about the school buses – will there be any limit on how many children can be on one bus? What about masks? What about early morning drop-off at elementary schools?

    All these and so many more questions and issues are part of the work of the School Reopening Advisory Committee and the five subcommittees, as you will see on the target topics lists for each of the subcommittees. Now that the NYSDOH, NYSED, CDC, and the Governor have provided us with initial direction, our work can move forward at a greater pace. Next week, we will be able to give you an update on our work and provide answers to some of the most pressing questions we know you have regarding the reopening plans. Further information will be provided the week of July 27. Our final plans will be submitted to NYSED on July 31 for approval, as mandated by Governor Cuomo.

    Thank you for your patience and support throughout these unprecedented and most challenging times. Together, we will continue to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the children of the Great Neck Public Schools community.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Teresa Prendergast
    Superintendent of Schools