LONG ISLAND - Port Washington parent Elizabeth Picciuto feels forced to choose between education and family safety. Her middle son Edmund is medically fragile and is learning from home. Doctors worry if he gets COVID-19, his genetic disorder will make him more likely to suffer serious consequences.
For the time being Picciuto’s two other sons have been going to school because she says the district failed to properly plan for virtual learning, and the number of positive cases in New York have been relatively under control.
But a recent letter from the Superintendent is now giving parents a deadline to commit to either in person or virtual learning for the rest of the school year.
“It only takes, you know, one exposure,” Picciuto said. “I feel like I have to make a choice between the health of my medically vulnerable child and the education of my typical children.”
The letter also informed parents only 400 students will be able to partake in the district’s “virtual elementary school” and close to 300 students have already enrolled.
One teacher will be assigned to each grade and will be responsible for up to 65 students, however preference will be given to medically fragile students and their families.
Robin Milgrim says the district is creating a divide between students and the community they’re growing up in.
“I personally have felt discriminated against as someone who has medical issues that this isn’t a choice for my family,” Milgrim said.
In a statement to FOX 5 NY, the superintendent says the district is committed to fostering a high-quality academic experience regardless of learning in school or virtual. However, it’s little consolation to parent Jordan Wolf who says the district should be offering more than the bare minimum required by the state.
“I think that it’s unfair for some children to be told if you have to stay home well you’re just going to have to live with a worse education,” he said.
A virtual town hall meeting is scheduled for Thursday night where parents hope to get answers. They vow to continue speaking out until changes are made.
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