Hicksville Public Schools (HPS) will open for the 2020-21 school year on Monday, Sept. 14. At the Aug. 19 board of education meeting, a resolution was adopted by unanimous vote to open on Sept. 14 in order to allow for four full days of staff development during superintendent’s conference days scheduled for Sept. 8 through 11.
“It is critical that all school personnel be trained in the many new procedures required under the pandemic guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the governor, the New York State Health Department and the New York State Education Department,” explained Superintendent of Schools Marianne Litzman.
HPS parents are an essential part of the success of the reopening. This has been an extremely challenging time, especially considering that circumstances are fluid, often changing day-to-day. The district greatly appreciates everyone’s patience and flexibility.
Please remember, if you elected to send your child(ren) to In-School Instruction (K-5 Elementary) or Hybrid Instruction (6-12 Secondary) on the district’s online Parent Commitment Form, there will be important health and safety expectations in place for students and staff as schools and classroom doors open:
• Students’ temperatures must be taken every day before boarding a bus and entering the school. Any child (or staff member) who is running a fever of 100 degrees or higher should remain at home. The district is launching a health app to assist with this daily requirement. All staff must also complete the health app daily. Please watch for more information about the health app.
• Students must wear facemasks at all times—on the bus and while in school (except for meals and as directed by their teacher when seated). All HPS staff members are also required to wear facemasks all day in the schools and on the buses. If a student forgets his/her facemask, the district will provide one.
• Social distancing must be practiced by all students at all times. Buses will carry fewer students in order to maintain proper social distancing on the bus. Classroom desks will be configured to comply with the CDC’s guidelines of six feet of physical separation. Hallway floors will be marked with decals to help remind students to remain socially distant. And, as an added layer of protection, the district is providing all K-12 students with a clear polycarbonate, portable, lightweight, 3-sided desk guard to set up around them on their desktops. These guards are washable with soap and water.
• Frequent hand and respiratory hygiene will be practiced throughout the day. Sinks and soap and water are available in all elementary classrooms. Touchless hand sanitizers have been installed in every classroom and in each school’s lobby. Students may bring a hand sanitizer container (no more than 8 ounces) to school. Students do not need to wear plastic gloves since hand washing and hand sanitizing will be practiced throughout the school day.
All HPS school arrival and dismissal times will remain the same as they were last school year:
• Burns: 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
• Dutch Lane: 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
• East Street: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
• Fork Lane: 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
• Lee Avenue: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
• Old Country Road: 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
• Woodland: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
• Middle School: 7:25 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.
• High School: 7:35 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.
Students may bring nonbreakable, refillable water bottles to school. In order to keep everyone safe, water fountains have been disconnected. Instead, the district has installed water bottle refilling stations in each school so students can keep hydrated throughout day.
New, stringent cleaning and disinfecting protocols have been implemented in all district buildings. Every classroom, bathroom, cafeteria and bus interior will be cleaned and disinfected every night. High-touch surfaces will be cleaned throughout the day. The district has purchased 32 electrostatic sprayers and will utilize its Kaivac cleaning machines to disinfect and clean. Parents can view a list of ingredients for these cleaning products on the district website. All cleaning items are CDC-certified.
Parents of all HPS K-12 students were offered instructional model choices, depending on whether the child is in elementary school (in-person or remote) or at the secondary level (hybrid model or remote), as to the best educational plan for their child(ren). Parents were asked to complete an online Parent Commitment Form posted on the district’s website in mid-August. Parents will be offered the option to change their selection before each quarter of the 2020-21 school year.
Building principals and the transportation department will be sharing important Opening Day information in the coming weeks, so please watch your email inbox for these important announcements.
In the meantime, the district has created reopening plan web pages at www.hicksvillepublicschools.org/ that can answer many of parents’ questions and provide valuable information. The district is also creating a comprehensive parent handbook to assist parents with the new school year. Watch for more information about this document soon.
Remember that the school main offices and transportation department will be very, very busy as the new school year begins, so please read the information posted on the website to stay informed. If you cannot find the information you seek, visit www.hicksvillepublicschools.org/programs/p_t_a__s_e_p_t_a and know that PTA members are also here to assist.
Many thanks to parents for helping by following the guidelines included here as schools reopen. Parents and the school district are essential partners in ensuring Hicksville Public Schools can offer the highest quality education to each and every student as everyone embarks on the new school year together.
—Submitted by the Hicksville Public School District