Long Island students find 'new normal' on first day back in school

For seniors at Plainedge High School it was a different final first day of school to say the least.

“Definitely hard to breathe with the masks,” said one student.  

What's the new normal? Masks must be worn at all times except for lunch and a few breaks and desks in the classroom are spaced six feet apart.

Plainedge is one of the first school districts in Nassau County to reopen its doors since the coronavirus pandemic shutdown in mid-March. While their comeback plan has elementary students in school five days a week, middle and high schoolers are following a hybrid plan alternating in school and live stream days.

Aside from a few exceptions, students whose last name starts with the letter A through K alternate with those students last names L through Z.

The plan is good for social distancing but not for socializing especially for freshmen who aren’t with their friends.

“It’s weird not going on the same day as them,” said freshman Domenico Moscato. “Kind of feel left out.”

In Suffolk County, the Hauppauge School District also started its year by staggering students. Grades one through eight will go in on different days this week, high school will be virtual, until next week when everyone will begin in-person learning together.

The Farmingdale School District is putting the finishing touches on protocols inside its buildings as officials get ready to start on September  8.

“Our kids need to get back to school socially and emotionally, we miss them and they miss us,” said Joe Valentine, principal of Albany Elementary School.

The majority of schools on Long Island will begin learning in some capacity next week. Many students and parents are also pushing for sports to start this season. In a statement the Plainedge superintendent says he‘s happy with the way the first day went, there will be challenges but they will move forward together as a community.

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