This week's top stories

1. Parents admit kids struggled with remote learning after virus shutdown

Jenna Prada with her children Lili Fey, 7, and Andre,...

Jenna Prada with her children Lili Fey, 7, and Andre, 4, at their Huntington home.   Credit: Johnny Milano

Parents have different views on whether to send their children back to school as they await the final call from Cuomo and review their districts' plans. 

Some of the questions they're considering:

Should kids have to keep a mask on all day?

Will it be safe?

Will kids fall behind in their learning if they don't go back?

As one parent, Jenna Prada of Huntington, puts it: "Everything is up in the air."

Many parents say they're aware that children represent just a fraction of the reported cases and deaths of the coronavirus, but worry over what remains unknown.

"I personally think it's safer and wiser to not put my kids in harm's way," said Sandy Sanchez of Lido Beach, a mother of two.

Parents also shared the struggles they and their children went through after schools were shut down in the spring.

Read the full story

2. As schools prepare to reopen, the focus turns to the infection rate

Dr. Bruce Farber, chief of infectious disease at North Shore University...

Dr. Bruce Farber, chief of infectious disease at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, said he believes the benefits of opening schools with masks and other safety precautions outweigh the risks, despite the probability of some infections. Credit: Charles Eckert

Long Island schools appear to be on track to reopen in the fall, so long as the infection rate remains low, top infectious disease doctors said.

  • The rate of COVID-19 will greatly influence whether it is safe to return kids to schools. Infection rates among children have been low: In Suffolk County, the health department said that since the beginning of the crisis in March, about 3.2% of new cases have been individuals age 17 or under and 1.3% of new cases children 10 and younger. 
  • More evidence is emerging, however, that children are potentially at risk and a risk to others from the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Studies indicate that older children can be as infectious as adults, and that all infected children carry viral loads that could be potentially infectious. 

Read the full story.

3. Schools were not prepared for distance learning, nextLI survey finds

Ana Guzman of Deer Park talks to Newsday about schools...

Ana Guzman of Deer Park talks to Newsday about schools reopening. Credit: Raychel Brightman

About 71% of Long Island parents are worried their children’s education will suffer because of COVID-19, a nextLI survey found.

  • The poll found only 36% of parents said their districts were prepared when forced to move instruction online after school closures in March.
  • Before sending their children back to school, about half of the parents surveyed want each of the following implemented: frequent sanitization of surfaces, increased hand-washing/hand-sanitizing, wearing masks and temperature checks.

Read the full story.

Resources for you

Dinosaurs roam at The Center for Science Teaching & Learning.

Dinosaurs roam at The Center for Science Teaching & Learning. Credit: Danielle Silverman

  • Any fans of dinosaurs? How about insects, goats or rabbits? There's a little bit of everything and a lot of fun learning at The Center for Science Teaching & Learning in Rockville Centre. Visit cstl.org.
  • National Geographic Kids has educational games and videos themed around animals, science and pets, among other things. Visit kids.nationalgeographic.com
  • For those who want to do some reading this summer, Scholastic offers book clubs for students of varying grade levels and interests, including books ranging from new releases to bestsellers. Visit scholastic.com

Your questions answered

Have questions? Send them to ednews@newsday.com. Newsday’s education reporting team will pick one to answer in this space each week. 

What’s my district’s plan?

About 650 of the 700 school districts in the state have submitted reopening plans to the state, according to Cuomo. A list of those that haven't filed their plans was not available earlier this week.

Long Island schools posted their plans on district websites, some recommending a full return to face-to-face instruction, which you can read more about here.

Three Village Central schools’ plan calls for complete in-person instruction starting in September for the K-12 district of about 5,878 students. The Smithtown district of 8,635 students plans to implement a hybrid model — a mix of remote and in-person instruction.

Huntington schools, where 4,425 students are enrolled, are planning for a phased-in hybrid return. And Sayville, a district of 2,878 students, would have K-5 students return in-person and adopt a hybrid model for grades 6-12.

You can try checking your district's website for their reopening plans.

Round of applause

Northport High School juniors Erik Keifer, left, and Dilan Piscatello.

Northport High School juniors Erik Keifer, left, and Dilan Piscatello. Credit: Northport-East Northport School District

Some kids put great ideas to work during the school shutdown, including these two Northport High School students who created a trivia and debate platform for Apple's iOS mobile operating system.

Juniors Erik Keifer and Dilan Piscatello began working on the app, called DopeIt, following the school closures this spring, ultimately launching it on June 1. The idea was to connect people through a mutual love of everything from movies to sports.

At a recent national competition, the Virtual Enterprises International's Youth Business Summit, four Long Island teams placed in the top 10 for their business and social media skills. The teams were from Baldwin, Huntington, Lynbrook and Sachem East high schools. Each received $50,000 in virtual enterprise money.

— Find the latest education news at newsday.com/long-island/education. Catherine Carrera can be reached at catherine.carrera@newsday.com or on Twitter @CattCarrera.

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