After six months of being home due to the COVID-19 pandemic and summer break, the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District has welcomed back students into its six buildings.
“Although this school year will look different from any other year, we are planning on providing all students with a memorable and engaging learning experience,” remarked Wellington C. Mepham High School Principal Eric Gomez.
New protocols include mask wearing, social distancing, one-way hallways and stairwells, staggered release times from class and the completion of a daily health screening questionnaire.
“I held a Zoom meeting with approximately 100 members of the senior class where we discussed the importance of the safety and social distancing guidelines being implemented at our school,” explained John F. Kennedy Principal Gerard Owenburg. “I shared a similar message with the rest of the student body during a Cougar Crier Instagram Live interview as well.”
Students started the year in a hybrid mode, with half of the student population each attending in-person instruction two days per week. Full in-person learning starting on Sept. 25. Students who opted for the alternate learning virtual model will receive instruction via Google Classroom and follow the in-person bell schedule.
“The CHSD is committed to providing a safe and orderly online school environment where students will receive instruction and services without disruption,” explained Superintendent John DeTommaso.
This combined effort to safely reopen schools was a massive undertaking that required the cooperation of multiple departments and resources.
“We are so appreciative of our school and parent partnership in working to keep our kids and staff members safe,” added Merrick Avenue Principal Katelyn Dunn. “This year, I have no doubt that we will be staying strong together.”
Bellmore-Merrick CHSD Superintendent of Schools, John DeTommaso said, “I have never been more proud of our students and staff and the ways in which they have navigated the first two weeks, adapted to our new routines and procedures, and abided by the new health and safety protocols.” The district has and will continue to monitor the infection rates everyday on Long Island and in the Bellmores and Merricks. Along with following guidance from Governor Como’s office and the NYSDOH, the district will remain in close contact with the Nassau County Health Department through the school year. The Bellmore-Merrick Board of Education approved full in-person learning while maintaining safety protocols starting on Friday, September 25. If at any point, the Board of Education and school district personnel determines that full 5 day in-person instruction is not manageable and/or if cases in the area spike or the infection rates in Nassau County rise, there will be a return to the hybrid model of learning. The district will take guidance from the Governor’s Office, the NYSDOH and the Nassau County Deptartment of Health. For updates visit http://www.bellmore- merrick.k12.ny.us/district/coronavirus_information