A Statement from the Syosset Board of Education
Presented to the Community on March 16, 2020:
Good evening. Tonight, as your Board continues its work without the physical presence of our community, our community remains very much present in our hearts and minds. There is no doubt that this pandemic is scary; that anxiety levels around the globe are rising; and that all communities are looking for leadership to give them answers and guidance; and, above all, to keep them safe.
Over these past few weeks, your Board and Superintendent have been working tirelessly to receive and digest updates from the Federal, State and local governments, from the scientists, from agencies such as the CDC and the Department of Health and from legal counsel. We do this to increase our knowledge about the virus and to help formulate safety measures within the authority we have been given. Navigating these unique and unprecedented issues under circumstances where the School District does not have unfettered authority to act, is as frustrating to us as it is to the entire community. We have strived to strike the balance of being as transparent as possible about the rationale for our safety and educational efforts, and the constraints we face as a School District, without unwittingly causing more worry. All the while, we recognize that our communications become obsolete with every change in circumstance and guidance; and our communications cannot be quite enough to answer all of the very valid questions the community has, while those with the authority to make such determinations are operating on a different timeline.
We would like to thank Nassau County Executive, Laura Curran, for exercising her authority to close Nassau County’s schools for two weeks. The County Executive explained her concern that closing schools before today may have increased the spread of the virus with more children out and about during the day than would be the case if they were in school. She has informed the public that the County has now set up sufficient infrastructure around the schools to be ready to mandate the closure. We have also been advised that today Governor Cuomo has extended the closure statewide until April 1. The city has extended its closure to April 20.
Your Board recognizes, through the scientific information that has been published to date, that it is a prolonged closure that will truly flatten the curve of the pandemic. That is why your Board has decided to write to Governor Cuomo and County Executive Curran, asking for a prolonged, State-Wide closure of 8 weeks or more, so that the rate of spread is brought to a level our health care system can manage. Our District is up to the task of on-line education and of ensuring the continued food access to students.
We would like to thank our teachers who have been extraordinary during this time at managing our student’s questions and emotions and for continuing to provide them with much needed consistency. We thank you for your efforts to make our on-line education plan as productive as possible and for continuing to support this team effort to provide a safe educational environment for all.
We would like to thank our custodial staff and the entire facilities department for making all of the adjustments we have asked of them in order to keep our buildings clean and sanitary.
We would like to thank our administrators for leading our buildings and answering the questions of so many during this difficult time and our administrative staff for helping our leaders to accomplish all that they have needed to; the letters, the phone calls, and the overall support. Your leadership has been crucial and so appreciated.
Thank you, Dr. Rogers. Your leadership has been critical for all of us. Your unceasing research, outreach, guidance, communication efforts, lobbying, and genuine care have been invaluable.
Lastly, the Board wants every student, community member and staff member to know that while we will not see each other for a while, we will be thinking about you. We will be pulling for everyone’s health. We will be rooting for your educational progress. We will be hoping that your smiles continue. We will be grateful that you will be surrounded by people who love you and we will look forward to your return.