Schools on Long Island swell with new students as families flee NYC

School districts on the east end of Long Island have been putting coronavirus safety protocols in place since March and over the past weeks preparing for an increase in enrollment.

Dozens of families in many of the different districts who have second homes in the Hamptons have decided not to return to New York City because of the pandemic and an increase in crime. 

“We’re opening with about 50 more students,” said Jeff Ryvicker, Superintendent of Schools for the Quogue School District. “Almost a 60-percent increase in enrollment.” 

And that’s just in the Quogue School District alone. Further East, the Montauk School District is expecting about 40 new students, East Hampton - more than 70 and similar scenarios in Sag Harbor and Westhampton Beach too.

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More students mean more staff - Superintendent Jeff Ryvicker with Quogue says the district had money in the budget for unanticipated expenses related to COVID-19. They’ll be learning in person five days a week and they hired two teachers and three extra teaching assistants. They’ll be learning in person five days a week. The district also retrofitted what used to be the art and music room to accommodate the additional kids. 

Part of Quogue’s plan includes spending as much time as possible outside for learning and even breaks where there are more space and kids can interact with each other safely.

“We are considering putting tents for outside, we've ordered outdoor tables with chairs and umbrellas for shade, sidewalk chalk for kids to do math on our blacktop and sidewalk,” Ryvicker said. 

Thermometers are ready for temperature checks, arrows are added to guide students and staff in the hallways, handwashing stations are set up for healthy hygiene. And while more families mean more action on the east end- it’s unclear how long it’ll last for. The first day of school is next week for the majority of districts.