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Riverhead is planning to implement a “hybrid model” for the return to school in September, since social distancing restrictions will make it impossible to have all children attend school every day, Interim School Superintendent Christine Tona said at tonight’s school board meeting.

The hybrid model will be a combination of in-person and remote education, she said.

The district will provide an option for families to continue with remote instruction if they are not comfortable sending children to school, Tona said.

“We are working on many, many other details with the goal of bringing children into our schools as safely as possible,” she said.

The district is currently drafting its re-entry plan, which must be filed by July 31, with the assistance of stakeholders — including teachers, administrators, staff, parents and community members. The plan is also being informed by the results of a survey of parents/guardians.

There were 1,575 survey responses as of July 20, Tona said.

The results show:

  • 55% are very concerned about their child being exposed to COVID;
  • 59% are planning to send their children back to school if school opens in the fall;
  • 33% will “definitely” utilize school bus transportation;
  • 36% are unsure about kids taking school buses
  • 56% will have no child care needs if in-person learning is less than full-time

Much remains unknown even as the district works on its re-entry plan, including the details of re-opening to be provided by the governor in early August and even whether there will be a surge of the virus in the local community that will prevent schools from opening their doors altogether.

The district and the board of education have as their primary goal making sure re-entry is done as safely as possible for students and staff, school board president Laurie Downs said.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.