COVID-19 School Closure Q and A
For your information, we are providing an ongoing list of questions and answers about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the mandated school closure. We will update this list regularly with any questions we receive from our community.
Q: How does the school closure affect our school calendar?
A: As mandated, schools will remain closed until at least May 15, unless we receive further guidance from the governor. All activities and events, as well as the use of facilities by community groups, have been suspended until schools reopen. Section VIII athletics has cancelled all spring sports. Please note that schools will be in session on May 21 and 22 as these are emergency make-up days.
In another Executive Order, the governor has postponed school board, library board and village elections until at least June 1, 2020. Although his order does not specify, it is anticipated that because the budget vote is scheduled for the same day, it will be postponed as well. We are expecting further direction from the state about time, location and how the vote will take place, and will share that information with you as soon as it becomes available.
Q: Can my child play on school grounds while schools are closed?
A: To help keep our children safe and healthy, we took extra precautions to stop the spread of this highly contagious illness by closing all outdoor facilities where students, including Memorial Football Field, OBHS tennis courts, the basketball courts at both Vernon and TR, all playgrounds and all other athletic fields around each school building. We are keeping the track at Vernon open for families to get exercise while being mindful of social distancing. We understand the need for our families to stay healthy and engage in activities that support their physical and mental well-being. However, these activities must meet all hightened safety precautions to help safeguard our community from illness.
Q: What advice are you giving students and families to help maintain consistency in learning through a digital learning model?
A: Students are encouraged to log on and access needed materials in OBEN Digital Learning daily so that teachers can gauge how students are managing and can provide meaningful feedback that will help shape our digital learning plan going forward. We recommend a structured, yet flexible, home learning environment. Try to establish a routine that works best for your family. Please be reminded that our instructional and support staff is always available via email with any questions or concerns about your child’s learning and building principals may be contacted if your child needs additional support.
Q: Is the District continuing to offer food service while schools are closed?
A: Yes. We have provided meals for our impacted families since the closure and have evaluated and modified our service based on need. The hours for our meal distribution programs at Vernon and Roosevelt are 10:30-11:30am at Roosevelt and 9-10 am at Vernon, Monday through Friday. Every Friday, the District will be distributing meals for Saturday and Sunday. Families should bring bags with them to take meals home for three (3) days. We are also working with the community regarding other food distribution options. More information can be found on our "Food Services and Community Support" tab on this site.
Q: Will end-of-year activities, including high school graduation, take place?
A: At this time, no decisions on end-of-year activities have been made.
Q: Will my child be able to finish driver's education?
A: The driver’s education program is currently suspended and we are working with our vendor on options to resume the spring semester. We will share information with you as soon as we know more.
Q: Can I attend Board of Education Meetings while schools are closed?
A: For the safety of our residents, Board of Education meetings will temporarily be closed to the public. We will provide a call-in number so that you may listen to the meeting. Once we receive confirmation for the phone number, we will post it on the website and let you know how to access it.
Q: Is the District offering resources for child care while schools are closed?
A: Governor Cuomo has issued an executive order to help families of health care professionals, first responders and other essential workers with child care assistance as they navigate through this health care crisis. As a result, we are partnering with SCOPE Emergency Child Care Program, which will be offering child care to children in pre-K through grade 6 at no charge as a service to the community. This program is housed in various school districts throughout Nassau County. For a complete list of locations and to register, please visit www.scopeonline.us and click on the first tab for SCOPE Emergency Child Care. Space and staffing is limited. Students will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis. Please see our "Emergency Child Care" tab for a list of other child care programs offering services to families.
At the request of the Office of Children and Family Services, we are sharing a link to a survey for parents who may need child care during this school closure: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3HSNNYJ
Q: What advice are you giving students and staff to help minimize the spread of communicable illnesses?
A: As this health pandemic escalates, we continue to follow and communicate the guidelines of our health and education officials to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. At this point, we urge that everyone, except essential workers, stay home. If you have to go out, please practice social distancing by staying six feet apart from others. Please remind your children how important it is that everyone, no matter what age, practice these safety precautions. We not only have to protect ourselves from contracting COVID-19, we must protect others, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions who are at high risk of developing critical symptoms that could ultimately put their lives in danger. Please continue to:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wash your hands after doing so.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are feeling sick and contact your doctor or call 311.
- Cover your cough and sneeze with your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. (See our cleaning tips tab on this site for a comprehensive cleaning guide.)
Q: What communication from the District has been provided to families about the coronavirus?
A: Communication from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Laura Seinfeld is being emailed to parents and staff almost daily and are posted in a separate tab on this site. Several robocalls and website alerts have been created as extra supports to our communication. Our dedicated COVID-19 webpage is continually being updated with new tabs and resources to help our school community. Among them are links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State and local Departments of Health as well as the NYS Coronavirus hotline at 888-364-3065. Resources to help families cope with a crisis, a comprehensive list of cleaning tips, and continual reminders regarding safety precautions, including the importance of staying home and practicing social distancing if you must go out, also are being shared with our school community and are available on this site.
Q: What has been done to disinfect and sanitize the schools?
A: Schools have undergone regular deep cleaning in addition to the extra attention custodians were already giving to cleaning all common, touchable surfaces throughout the day. Prior to the closure, disinfectant wipes were distributed to all classrooms and offices, and hand-sanitizing dispensers were installed in strategic areas for use where soap and water are not readily available. Our custodians have been using Virex II 256, a one-step disinfectant and deodorant that is highly effective against a wide variety of pathogenic microogranisms, including Human Coronavirus and Influenza.
Q: How should parents speak to children about COVID-19?
A: This link from the National Association of School Psychologists was recently shared with the community and is a good resource for speaking with your children:
You can also visit our "Mental Wellness Resources for Families" tab for more information.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to share them with us and we will add them to this document. We know that this is a very trying time for everyone and we will do our best to address your concerns by keeping you updated. We thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation as we work through these challenges together.