Some parents in the Copiague school want to be given...

Some parents in the Copiague school want to be given the option to send their children to in-person classes as soon as possible. Credit: James Carbone

Copiague parents demanded their children get the option to go back to the classrooms for full in-person learning at a school board meeting Monday night, arguing the students would benefit from the personalized learning the school setting can offer.

They complained about having to choose between all virtual classes or following a hybrid model under district restrictions to reduce risk of coronavirus exposure.

"The parents that have concerns regarding COVID have the choice to keep their kids remote five days a week," said Kim Lapina, 43, who has a second-grader at Deauville Gardens West Elementary School. "The parents who feel that five days in-person education is vital don’t have that choice."

Some advocating for a full return suggested loosening restrictions requiring six feet of space between students as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering whether students can safely sit closer, using masks and other physical partitions.

Lapina started an online petition on March 10 to reopen schools for full-time learning, and it has since collected just over 400 signatures.

School officials said they can’t bring in all students under current state restrictions since classrooms accommodate up to 15 students, six-feet apart. There are 4,924 students in the district, which has four elementary schools, a middle school and a high school.

"We have maintained and continue to maintain a six-feet social distancing policy until the science around social distancing policy catches up with the regulations," Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Bannon said at the meeting.

The school district provides all students remote and hybrid classes.

"Everyone is offered 100% remote," Bannon said in a statement Wednesday night. "All in person kindergarten, elementary and middle school self-contained special education classes are five days a week."

The district has reported 121 total positive COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, state data shows.

Bannon said no decision has been made about high school students or others on remote or hybrid schedules returning for more than two days a week.

The 12 people who spoke, out of about 50 at the meeting, said they didn’t believe a plan was yet in place, for this year or next. School officials said they are working on next year's budget and waiting to know what state aid the district will receive.

Michael Muscatello became emotional discussing how his child's grades went to "absolute failure" in sixth grade, from being nearly perfect in fifth grade, due to not being in school more than two days a week.

"If I hear that we’re not opening up in September," said Muscatello, 45. "What you’re pretty much telling me is I need to sell my house and move to a different school district."

Latest videos

DON'T MISS THIS LIMITED-TIME OFFER1 5 months for only $1Save on Unlimited Digital Access