Readers Write: Superintendents words on reopening not comforting

The Island Now

Dear Dr. Michael Hynes:

There are 124 separate school districts on Long Island, which means that there are probably at least 120 different superintendents of schools employed on the Island.

I think that it’s terrific that out of that considerable number, that you were picked by Newsday to give your thoughts about the reopening of schools in September, in a safe and healthy manner, for both students and teachers (today’s article, “Educators: Teachers worry about plans to keep them safe,” Page A16).

Your close relationship with Newsday obviously reflects well on our school district. However, I sense that you didn’t first clear what you said to Newsday, with the president of our school board, the rest of our school board and then with some high-level administrators in our school district like our building principals and assistant principals.

And as a result of your not first clearing what you had to say to the newspaper, you may now be heavily stomped on by the school officials just mentioned, especially by the president of our school board and by a few of our more militant school board members.

You are quoted in the article as saying, “…….the district has provided plans for social distancing, mask-wearing and hand washing, but that schools will have to adjust on the fly. To say (that) we have all the answers would be an untrue statement.

Can we reopen? I think that we can, but the question becomes when we do, what are we learning and adjusting and modifying as we go forward? We need to think outside of the box. The box is gone.”

The reopening of schools in September involves putting our children at great risk.

And teachers in the schools will also be put at great risk. The coronavirus is airborne and adheres to almost any surface.

The few “preventative measures” that you mentioned in the article and any others that our school district may implement, like the constant sanitizing of school buildings, classrooms, school desks, chairs and other school equipment, cannot guarantee, in the least, that children attending reopened schools won’t contract the virus at school.

However, our board of education and many of our district’s administrators are no making “rock solid” strong efforts to convince our community and its parents of school-age children, that all steps will be taken by September to provide our children with safe and healthy schools.

You, on the other hand, have just told our community and its parents that the reopening of schools is actually an experiment because you indicate that we really don’t know what will develop as children attend class.

Our board of education, on the other hand, wants as few parents as possible, to opt not to send their child back into a reopened school.

Your message in today’s Newsday creates doubts for parents, whereas our school board wants parents to have no doubts about sending their child back into reopened school.

If you’re stomped on, don’t be surprised.

Joel Katz

Port Washington

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