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Superintendent's Corner

 

December 2021

Dear Royal Families and Staff:

December is always a joyful time in our schools and community. It has been wonderful watching our musicians perform at the Dickens Festival and concerts. Many thanks to our music department for their efforts and precautions as we transition to live audiences once again. Thank you to all of our families who have been incredibly supportive while adhering to the masking and COVID requirements set forth for these concerts.  

Unfortunately, the COVID positivity rate continues to grow on Long Island. This news can be unsettling for many.  As difficult as it may seem at times, we need to remember how far we have come through this virus and the wealth of information we now have.  Vaccines and boosters are widely available for those that would like to receive one.  Treatments and home tests are available if infected.  Our schools are open for in-person learning with athletics and after-school activities thriving.  We are in a much better place than in the beginning of the pandemic.  

Even with these advances, we need to be vigilant through the colder months as many activities move indoors and new variants emerge. We are asking everyone to stay home if you are not feeling well and get tested.  Remember to share relevant symptoms or test results with the Health Office as soon as possible. Practice universal masking where required, hand hygiene and avoid unnecessary gatherings. All of these mitigation strategies will help keep our schools open.  

For those that may interested in our positivity rates, New York State requires districts to report cases and testing daily. A link to this information is here.

I hope you and your family have a happy and healthy holiday season.  

Sincerely,

Jessica Schmettan
Superintendent of Schools


November 2021

Dear Royal Families and Staff,

Please see the attached two letters which were sent this morning, from five North Shore School District Superintendents, to the following:

  • Ms. Kathy Hochul, Governor, State of New York
  • Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Commissioner, New York State Department of Health
  • Mr. Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Executive
  • Dr. Gregson H. Pigott, Commissioner, Suffolk County Department of Health
  • Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director, NIAID, Office of Communications & Government Relations

 

In summary, these letters are advocating for:

  • Schools in our geographical area should not be required to host COVID-19 vaccine clinics for our students.
  • A review of the indoor school mask mandate; including specific metrics for lifting the mandate and allowances for athletes during competition – such as basketball, wrestling and indoor track.

 

I appreciate the professional collaboration and partnership between our District and our neighbors.

North Shore Coalition Letter - Universal Mask Wearing - Nov. 2021
North Shore Coalition Letter - Schools as Vaccine Clinics - Nov. 2021

 


August 2021

Dear Royal Families:

After the challenges of the past eighteen months through the COVID-19 pandemic, I hope you had time this summer to rest and recharge.  The early summer months of June and July were joyous with low infection rates, restrictions lifted and confidence that life was resuming to “normal”.  Many of us scheduled travel, saw distant relatives again for the first time and thought the new school year would resume to a pre-pandemic routine.  

Unfortunately, we are now faced with new challenges brought on by breakthrough infections and the Delta variant. At our recent Board of Education meeting, we presented a plan for universal masking regardless of vaccination status for staff and students, three feet social distancing when possible and a return to full in-person instruction. Our plan is based upon local, federal and state guidance; as well as the school mask mandate issued Friday afternoon by the New York Department of Health.  A full copy of our plan can be read on our website.

Although you may feel frustrated and experience some COVID fatigue, we must remain diligent as we begin this new school year.  Our schools may not feel completely “normal” yet, but we are certainly moving in the right direction.  We will begin with these restrictions; however, as the year progresses things could change.  Think of all the positives for September that we are starting with - all of our students in attendance, every day in-person. We have already begun fall athletic seasons and expect to resume extracurricular clubs in-person. We have an FDA approved vaccine and two more expected. I believe we are more prepared than ever.  We have an entire year of experiences to draw from and feel confident we can keep our schools open for our students. 

Throughout the summer, our facilities, technology, clerical and administrative staff members have been working to prepare for the safe opening of school for students on Thursday, September 2.  Our instructional staff will be participating in conference days this week and have been busy setting up their classrooms for learning. Our buildings and staff are ready to start another successful year. 

Welcome back Royals!

Sincerely,

Jessica Schmettan
Superintendent of Schools