Port Washington parents say school district's abrupt reopening plan changes left them scrambling
Furious parents in Port Washington are demanding their district reverse what they say was a last-minute switch from a five full-day elementary plan to a hybrid model.
Port Washington parents say they were stunned at the changing of gears for the district's elementary plan.
"Dr. Hynes two weeks ago told us we are 100% five days, all in for elementary because that's what I want," says Justina Renna. "We were all like, that's great. Then on Thursday night two weeks before school is supposed to start, he said you know what, things have changed."
The new plan will have elementary students in school two days, two days remote and a day off in between.
Parents say they're now left scrambling to find child care with a short amount of time to figure it out.
"I'm a full-time working mom. I work in the city. My husband also works out of the house. Now we have child care issues, we don't know what to do with our son," says Lauren Weinstock.
Parents are calling on the superintendent and Board of Education to switch back, a plan they say is similar to other nearby districts.
Remote learning has been an issue for many, and at least one student says learning on a computer isn't ideal.
"When we started doing online learning, I missed a lot of days, I was getting out of the feeling of school, not reading as much or writing," says second grade student Brandon Fernand. "So if we do live instruction I would appreciate it a lot more."
According to the district's reopening plan FAQs posted on its website, it says its reopening plan is not a finalized document and that it is intended to be fluid and can change based on guidance from the state.
Port Washington schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Hynes released a statement, saying, "After an internal assessment of our individual building capacities was performed, it was determined that all of our elementary students could return, while remaining in compliance with all health and safety-related guidelines, by using many of our non-instructional spaces as classrooms and lowering class sizes. With that determination, working with our principals and central administration, we developed a five-day in-person instructional plan within these constraints which included a phased-in reopening at our elementary schools to ensure the safety of students and staff.
He then goes on to say, "We then shared this plan with the Port Washington Teacher Association leadership and elementary teachers. Due to the considerable pushback we received directly from the PWTA leadership and some teachers, we had no choice but to pivot to a hybrid model for our elementary schools reopening. However, we are committed to bringing our elementary students back in school 5 days a week. Towards that end, we have reconvened our instructional task force and elementary building protocols task force to work with PWTA leadership, our elementary principals and teachers to develop plans that will allow us to return to a five-day program. We have set October 5 as the hard deadline to reach this solution."