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What to know before school starts

The first day of school during a pandemic

Each district has its own new procedures for busing, getting into the buildings and going to class.

Even before a student leaves home, there are self-health assessments that ask about symptoms or if they've been in contact with someone with the virus.

Fishers Island was the first of all Long Island public school districts to welcome back its students — 70 in grades K-12 — on Tuesday. A few more districts will reopen this week, while the bulk are set to welcome students after Labor Day.

“It felt like we have been doing it forever like this, and it also felt like it was new and strange — all at the same time,” said Christian Arsenault, Fishers Island superintendent/principal. “The kids just rolled with it. You can tell they want to be here.”

Read more on what to expect for the first day of school, from busing to what classrooms look like and social distancing rules.

Parents in some districts are concerned with the options that are being offered for their children. Watch their discussion in this recent Newsday Live conversation.

The number of new positives reported today: 84 in Nassau, 55 in Suffolk, 264 in New York City and 708 statewide.

The chart above shows the cumulative number of tests conducted in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Search a map and view more charts that show the latest local trends in new cases, hospitalizations, deaths, economic data and more.

Cuomo: NY's low level of cases 'no mean feat'

New York State marked its 26th straight day on Wednesday of having testing levels below 1%, though three Suffolk County establishments were given summonses for violating coronavirus mitigation laws, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said.

The state’s COVID-19 level was 0.8% in results delivered Tuesday. The level on Long Island was 0.8% and in New York City 0.7%.

"Defeating COVID-19 requires a shared commitment among all New Yorkers to wear masks, socially distance and wash hands, and I thank them for listening to state guidance and taking social action to get us to this point today. Twenty-six straight days with an infection rate below 1 percent is no mean feat," Cuomo said in a statement.

Meanwhile, State Liquor Authority agents and state troopers inspected 1,144 businesses on Long Island and in New York City on Tuesday, and issued summonses to three businesses in Suffolk. Officials did not immediately identify them on Wednesday afternoon.

Principal condemns students' behavior at weekend party

Roslyn High School's principal has issued a letter criticizing the behavior of about 100 teenage students — mostly seniors — who were photographed at a private weekend party sharing drinks and not wearing masks.

With classes scheduled to start Thursday, Principal Scott Andrews told families in his Aug. 31 letter that the partying students' failure to take precautions against the spread of the coronavirus put at risk "not just our schools, but our entire community." A copy of the letter was obtained by Newsday.

Andrews went on to say his office had been inundated with calls, emails and pictures from angry and worried parents and students. Further violations of social-distancing precautions would make it impossible for schools to continue in-house operations and lead to the cancellation of events, the principal warned.

"If seniors continue to behave in the thoughtless manner that was brought to our attention this past weekend, they should expect to miss out on many of the milestones that come with senior year," Andrews wrote in the letter addressed to Roslyn families.

Nassau aims to lure people from NYC with indoor dining

Nassau officials have launched a campaign to lure more "foodies" into county restaurants by offering the ambience of eating inside again.

“We want to let everyone know about the indoor dining options here on Long Island to restaurant-goers looking for year-round opportunities to chow down on their favorite fare,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who announced the "Taste Nassau Now" campaign Tuesday in Great Neck.

Speaking at Colbeh, a kosher Mediterranean restaurant, Curran called the initiative “a creative social media and marketing campaign designed to attract new restaurant-goers right across the border, in many cases, right here into Nassau County.”

It even has a slogan: “Dine where it’s fine in Nassau, Long Island.” The promotion comes as eateries in Queens and New York City's four other boroughs remain banned from serving food indoors due to state-mandated restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

More to know

Revolution Bar & Music Hall in Amityville is the first Long Island music venue to announce it will close a result of the pandemic.

A Siena College poll shows 62% of those surveyed are uneasy about starting school and think a full reopening poses too many risks, while 32% said the negative effect of not opening schools is too great on students and families.

The state Public Service Commission on Tuesday granted an emergency request by New York American Water to postpone September surcharges and rate increases, citing the "ongoing nature of the pandemic."

Many Americans are counting on a vaccine to curb the pandemic, but the path to delivering vaccines to 330 million people remains unclear for local health officials expected to carry out the work.

News for you

Weddings out, more dining options in. Huntington’s Oheka Castle hasn't seen any lavish weddings this season, and only a few micro ones. Instead, its dining options have been expanded to terraces and courtyards. Find out more.

A socially distant 'Tails & Ales' event. Yes, you can bring your dog to sip on beer samples, browse pet-friendly vendors and listen to live music at the Nutty Irishman in Farmingdale this month. The event series will abide by COVID-19 guidelines.

Travel plans up in the air? Maybe you're considering canceling your travel rewards credit card. But that's not the only thing you can do — you can earn rewards for a future trip, redeem and save money on current purchases or downgrade your card. Here are some options

Drive in to the North Fork TV Festival. This year's North Fork TV Festival will take place during a one-day "drive-in" event at the Castello di Borghese Vineyard in Cutchogue, organizers announced. The Oct. 17 festival will run from 7 to 9 p.m. and tickets are sold per car.

Plus: Don't miss Newsday's next free virtual event Wednesday night in which health experts explain coronavirus safety measures and take questions on what's known about the virus. Register here.

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Don't stop youth from playing sports. Sports are a vehicle to release, enjoy, relax and complement our lives, writes Elaine Gauck, of Bethpage, in a letter published by Newsday Opinion.

To stop these activities for students who rely on sports to excel in education, avoid derelict behavior and create a well-adjusted life, both socially and physically, is a complete failure by administrations. The residual effects are immeasurable. I believe that we’d see increases in crime, suicide, unemployment, teen pregnancy, homelessness and other negative results.

One cannot compare youth and high school sports to the professional or college levels because, to me, one is a foundation and the others are the canopy. This stoppage concept needs to be reexamined.