The September 9, 2020 Board of Education meeting was the first scheduled meeting since the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year. During his opening remarks and again during the Reopening Plan Updates, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani reported that the first day of the school year went smoothly, and he thanked the Board trustees for joining him. Dr. Giani noted that as he walked the hallways, he noticed that students were seated appropriately, mask compliant and engaged in learning, and that he looks forward to growth and improvement as the District continues to settle into the new normal of teaching and learning.

Dr. Giani explained that Chromebook distribution will be delayed until October for students in K-3. He is asking K-3 parents to hold off on requests for a Chromebook for their student at this time, unless they do not have access to a computer. He also noted that NY State has provided a pilot to pivot to remote instruction during inclement weather. Under this model, schools can pivot to a remote model and avoid using a snow day. He also pointed out that the NY Department of Health requires making COVID-19 pandemic data known to the public, and the District will comply through the reporting of positive results by students and faculty. Temperature check and bus window protocols will also be further investigated.

The Board approved revisions to the Reopening Plan, which included temperature checks protocols. The information is included on page 13 of the plan, posted on the District website at www.southcountry.org. The Board also approved the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Return to Interscholastic Athletics, which included restrictions on high risk sports including football, volleyball and cheerleading until March 1. Low risk sports including cross-country, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, soccer, girls swimming and diving, and girls tennis would be allowed to practice starting September 21 and play within their section or league until Oct. 19. Since the Board’s vote, however, Section XI has postponed all sports in Suffolk County until Jan. 4.

The Board appointed Trustee Clyde Parker as South Country Central School District Board of Education representative to the Town of Brookhaven’s Solid Waste Solutions Committee.

The Board also approved a statement regarding the recent display of a Confederate flag on a Brookhaven Fire Department vehicle, supporting the quick action of fire department officials and the NAACP’s push for bias-training. The trustees also discussed how publishing the statement speaks out against systemic racism, which is in line with the District’s goals and priorities and provides a teachable moment.

The next scheduled Board of Education meeting is scheduled for September 23, 2020 at 6:15 p.m. and the Board will anticipate going into Executive Session with a return to the public portion of the meeting at 7:30 p.m.