Some Suffolk County schools switch to full-time in-person learning for elementary school students

SMITHTOWN, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — Some school districts in Suffolk County have returned to full-time in-person learning for elementary school students.

In Smithtown, Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Secaur says elementary school students have moved on from the hybrid learning model.

“Our concern about elementary students and the potential for learning loss, we wanted to bring them back when we realized that the safety piece was going to be handled well,” he said.

Secaur says students will stay largely together as one group, which will hopefully reduce the spread of the virus. All classrooms will have partitions to separate desks and students will be distanced as much as possible while also wearing masks.

“With our elementary students, we had a reasonable amount of confidence that we could do it, and do it well, without impacting the entire building when we do ever isolated case,” the superintendent said. “With the secondary students, it's trickier and that's why we haven't done it to this point.”

Other school districts on Long Island have also made the change.

As for Smithtown, Secaur says parents have had mixed feelings in regard to the switch.

“Parents were generally quite happy with our transition to having the students come fully back, that said, there's roughly 10% of our parents who chose to have the students learn entirely remotely,” he said. “That's not something that we had to do, but we chose to do because we just thought it was the right thing.”

Secaur does admit that he is concerned about a surge in cases causing schools to close in the future.

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