'Kids need 5' - Parents in Smithtown call for in-person schooling 5 days a week in September
Parents in Smithtown Wednesday held a rally in support of returning to school in September.
They chanted "Kids need five," as in five full days in school. They say the district is not offering that as an option.
"I have children with IEPs and home schooling -- I'm not prepared," said Francis Taracido. "I'm not trained to provide that support for them. I pay taxes for that."
Taracido's son Liam starts third grade in the fall.
While parents with kids who have learning disabilities say it's extremely important to get their kids back in the classroom, other parents say it's just as important for their kids as well.
"They need to be with their teacher, in the building with them in the front of the room, not shoved in a computer screen for 50% of their learning," said Stacy Murphy.
But some parents say five days a week in September is too much, too soon and they want school officials to take a more measured approach.
Districts across the Island recently began rolling out their reopening plans. Most offer three options: one where kids continue with remote learning only, another where they go back to their classrooms about 50% of the time, and a third plan showing how they can safely return to school full-time. That option is not being offered in Smithtown.
"Don't tell us you can't. Don't tell us why you can't. Do it and you can do it safely," said Murphy.
Smithtown School Superintendent Russell Stewart released a statement saying in part, "All decisions are made in the best interest of children and their well-being. Therefore, at no point will we unnecessarily jeopardize the health, safety of our students, staff, or their loved ones at home."