LI school districts still working toward full reopening 1 year after COVID-19 shutdowns

One of the first signs that our world was about to change came when the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District closed its doors after a teacher tested positive for the virus.

News 12 Staff

Mar 10, 2021, 11:06 PM

Updated 1,132 days ago

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Wednesday marks one year since the first Long Island schools were closed down due to COVID-19. It has been a transformative year for education on all fronts.
One of the first signs that our world was about to change came when the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District closed its doors after a teacher tested positive for the virus.
Joseph LeRea, a fourth grade teacher in the district, was among the first Long Islanders to catch the virus, which left him and his colleagues scrambling.
"I was very concerned about my coworkers because we eat lunch everyday, we're in common rooms every day, the kids in my classroom. What's going to happen?" says LeRea.
One year later, he's healthy and back in the classroom.
But since that day, educators have had to learn how to keep teaching during a pandemic. There's still some uncertainty about the road ahead.
In the district, kindergarten through sixth grade students are in the classroom full time right now. But seventh through 12th graders are on hybrid schedules.
Sports are making a comeback, with the fall season on the horizon. And the district will soon let some clubs and extracurricular groups meet in person as well.
But there's still no set date to bring the older kids back into the classroom full time.
"The community numbers are still above 4%. We haven't had a lot of cases in our schools after this February recess," says Plainview-Old Bethpage Superintendent Dr. Mary O'Meara. "However, until we know we can keep everybody safe, bringing everyone back is still in the planning stages."
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran says some vaccination pods are targeting teachers, with an eye on putting more students back in their desks.
"I think vaccination is the key to having more open in schools," says Curran. "I think it's really important for kids to be in school."
The school district will have a meeting with community leaders on March 20 to discuss what can be done safely.


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