GAREN CITY, NY — Students at dozens of Long Island schools will return to classrooms Tuesday in the middle of the ongoing pandemic, including those who go to Garden City Public Schools.
Garden City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kusum Sinha explained the experience will be different for students this year.
“The kids are in cohorts," she said. "They’re going to remain in groups, and lunch will be in a classroom setting except for high school - it will be in the cafeteria, social distancing.
Students will sanitize their hands when they enter and leave class, she said.
Large spaces in all seven of the district's school buildings have been converted into classrooms.
“We have taken our cafeteria and split that into two full size classes and our gymnasiums, there are two full size classrooms," she said. "Library space is being used as classrooms too."
There will also be desk shields and spaced-out desks in classrooms with limited students, isolation rooms in case a student or teacher gets sick, daily disinfecting, and mandatory face masks everyone.
Schools were updated with additional vents and higher grade filters over the summer, officials said.
Temperature checks will also be required either at home, or before entering classrooms.
According to school leaders, they’re following all state health and safety guidelines for the district’s nearly 4,000 students and 300 teachers.
Still, if they have to pivot back to remote learning for any reason, they are prepared to do so.
“Schools are meant for kids and it’s our responsibility to ensure their safety and health,” Dr. Sinha said. “If everyone does what they’re suppose to do in our school community, our schools will remain open for our kids.”
Of the nearly 4,000 students in the school district, 200 have opted for remote learning.