Superintendents’ message to the community

A ‘return to normalcy’ is expected

Posted

What are the most significant changes to school procedures for the 2022-2023 school year?

BBP (Dr. Hearney): With most COVID-19 restrictions/guidelines lifted by NYS during recent updates, we are looking forward to returning to a more traditional school setting when schools open for the 2022-2023 school year.

Sayville (Dr. Ferris): After two years of COVID-19 mandates and protocols, I am happy to report that we will start this school year operating under mostly pre-pandemic conditions. This means a “return to normalcy” for all our students and staff members as follows:

• Masks are no longer required for participation in school.

• All desks and classroom arrangements will be made by our teachers with no restrictions.

• All cafeteria, library, and other large spaces will operate under normal conditions.

• All after-school and extracurricular activities will operate under normal conditions.

• We will no longer be required to contact-trace, quarantine, or mandate testing for students exposed to other individuals testing positive for COVID-19.

• Students testing positive for COVID-19 may return to school if they are symptom free after five school days and do not need to test prior to returning to school.

• Upon return to school, it is recommended that a child testing positive for COVID-19 wear a mask for up to 10 days.

 What is your main message/goal/intention for this school year for teachers? Parents? Students? 

BBP (Dr. Hearney): Our main goal continues to be focused on providing enriched educational and co-curricular opportunities for our students and families. There are several new programs and offerings we are starting this year, spanning classroom courses to clubs and career training opportunities which will bring exciting new experiences. Additionally, we are introducing several new initiatives geared toward bolstering our support of students overall mental health and wellbeing.  

Sayville (Dr. Ferris):  I am thrilled to be joining the Sayville community as the incoming superintendent of schools. The focus of our work with our students will be on caring and learning. To uphold Sayville’s high-quality learning experiences, we must provide a safe learning environment. All summer, our security team worked diligently, analyzing and updating our safety protocols and procedures. In addition, we met with Homeland Security and the 5th Precinct to assess our security program, ensuring that all our schools are safe and ready for the beginning of the school year.

What school events are you most looking forward to in the fall? 

BBP (Dr. Hearney): The most exciting event of the fall is just around the corner—the opening day of school. I’m looking forward to having all our students and staff back in our buildings. From our incoming UPK students to our rising seniors, I am looking forward to the connections and learning that will take place in our schools. In addition, I am eager to celebrate many of the traditional fun fall activities—including homecoming, which provides a time for our entire school community to come together.

Sayville (Dr. Ferris): We are excited to greet every single student—every day—with open arms and smiling faces throughout the fall semester.  Whether during school or at extracurricular activities, we are looking forward to a return to normalcy and full participation for all of our students.

What do you hope to cover and/or achieve during professional development prior to the return of students? 

BBP (Dr. Hearney): Our district provides professional development on an ongoing basis to ensure that our teachers are supported and trained in evolving educational practices. New this year, our district will be providing in-house training for our Teachers College program and this summer has engaged staff in training sessions regarding the new programs we will be implementing.

Sayville (Dr. Ferris): Our teachers have been hard at work preparing for the arrival of our students. During our Sept. 1 and 2 conference days our teachers will participate in district-level and building-specific professional development focused on “caring” and “learning”. Our focus this year is on “caring and learning” because we strongly believe that the most vibrant and productive classroom settings infuse a deep sense of caring about student well-being while maintaining a commitment to joyful, engaging, and thoughtful learning experiences for all students at every level.

What can parents do to best prepare their children for the first day of school?

BBP (Dr. Hearney): Best advice is simple: get a good night’s sleep, maintain an open line of communication, stay organized and make the most out of every experience. A new school year is a great time for a fresh start and the chance to try new things.

Sayville (Dr. Ferris): Over the summer, we provided parents with a variety of resources to help students at various levels prepare for the upcoming school year.  This includes academic preparation in the form of summer reading and summer assignments, as well as, articles for parents on how to support student social emotional well-being.  Mostly, we want our parents to spend time with their children over the summer enjoying a healthy, fun, and relaxing summer
vacation so they can start the new school year energized, happy, and ready for learning!

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