BY MICHAEL J. LEWIS
A discussion of new COVID-19 policies and a presentation by members of the sixth-grade student government were the highlights of the monthly meeting of the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park school board on Monday.
The sparsely attended meeting (fewer than 10 spectators were in attendance, perhaps a combination of the extreme cold weather and the omicron spike) went swiftly at Garden City Park School, with only two matters sparking any discussion.
Superintendent Jennifer Morrison, who like most school administrators seemed weary of still discussing COVID-19 after nearly two years, explained the changes that were due to take effect immediately regarding students and quarantining with a positive test.
“In the COVID portion of our show, I have to say it’s been absolutely incredible the amount of information that comes out from New York State, regarding COVID, on a daily basis,” Morrison said. “But we’re all trying to do our best to follow the new guidelines every time they change.”
Morrison, who said 175 individuals in the school district were isolated and quarantining, explained that the district would be adhering to the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that called for individuals who test positive to be required to isolate for a minimum of five days, half of long as the previous guidelines required.
There was some back and forth between Morrison and board member Jennifer Kerrane regarding how schools would ensure that students who tested positive actually stayed out for the full five days, with Garden City Park School Principal Amy Sullivan chiming in to explain that all teachers get lists of students who have tested positive in their class.
Morrison also firmly stated that she and the Board of Education do not have the power to change state mask mandates, contrary to what new County Executive Bruce Blakeman said after taking office.
“It’s absolutely not the case, and Betty Rosa (state education commissioner) has confirmed it to all the superintendents,” Morrison said.
Also at the meeting, there was a lively presentation by two sixth-grade students at Garden City Park School: Serena George, the Student Council president, and Jasmine Cunanan, the vice president, took the board through a slideshow of recent school activities, and in keeping with the times, added an inspirational line at the end that drew laughs from the board:
“Remember: Stay positive, but test negative.”