East End schools seeing enrollment increase as city residents extend their stay
The pandemic-driven New York City exodus has led to a spike in school enrollment on the East End.
Back in March as the pandemic began to hit New York, an influx of city residents made their way to the East End, figuring they were safer there than in a crowded city. But local residents were concerned that out-of-towners could start spreading the virus. They also complained of shortages of food and cleaning supplies.
On the flip side, some local businesses were grateful for the extra customers, helping them get through the pandemic.
But now as fall approaches, a lot of city residents with second homes are extending their stay and want to enroll their kids in local schools.
"Everything's up in the air. They're not sure if they're going to have enough teachers, will there be enough space, is it going to be a full day's program, every other day. Is it going to be part virtual, part home?" says Vanessa Gordon, of East Hampton.
"We will have to make some changes, moving some classrooms around to be able to put 6 feet around each child and 6 feet between the children and the teacher. But we have a plan and it's so far, so good," says Andi O'Hearn, from the Ross School in East Hampton.
The Ross School is among those that has seen a big jump in enrollment. And while some private schools say the added children aren't a problem, some public school districts are expressing concern.
Debra Winter is the superintendent of the small Springs School District, which may be adding more than 20 kids from the city this fall.
"If you're looking at 12 square-feet per child for gym, I'll be lucky if I get one class in there. So now you're looking at an impact, just phys ed, of at least another full-time teacher and maybe one and a half," says Winter.
The Amagansett School -- which serves pre-K through sixth graders -- is expected to double its enrollment in September from 75 students to about 150.