Letter: Continue to Take Covid-19 Precautions, Be Wary of Social Media Rumors

Dear Huntington Families,

As you are likely aware, there has been a recent uptick in positive COVID-19 cases in our region, throughout
the state and across the nation. Our school community has weathered the storm relatively well thus far; we
are doing all we can to maintain. Data at all levels suggest that the increase in viral transmission and
community spread is rarely occurring or starting within school buildings that have a sound plan in place
and wherein students and staff adhere to established safety protocol. There is no doubt that all within our
schools understand the importance of taking every precaution and have maintained their vigilance without

While the cooler weather and increased indoor presence clearly play a role, schools that have experienced
extensive quarantines and closures are in areas within which activities have taken place outside of the
school setting with little regard for minimizing exposure risk. Unfortunately, schools remain but one illconceived outside gathering away from a major interruption. The “it-won’t happen-to-me” approach only
works until it doesn’t. I implore you to continue taking the current circumstances seriously and take every
measure to avoid disrupting our children’s education.

Of additional note, there appears to be a Facebook thread circulating across the county suggesting that
school officials have been speaking and are collectively considering a voluntary closure following
Thanksgiving break. As vice president of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association, I can
assure you that no such conversation has been held among executive board members nor among members
of the local superintendent cluster. Social media remains a breeding ground for opinion and rumor. Should
you have a question, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or an administrator for
firsthand information.

With that said, however, the Governor has the authority to close schools via Executive Order at his discretion.
To date, the only information from Albany related to school closures involves the establishment of microcluster zones (by color) and the need for testing should an area be identified as a hotspot. As of right now,
there are no hotspots on Long Island; nonetheless, we remain in close contact with the Suffolk County
Department of Health Services to discuss how voluntary testing can be implemented on a large scale.

Lastly, be reminded that schools are closed tomorrow (Wednesday, November 11) for Veterans Day.
Please join us in sharing our deepest gratitude with current and past members of our nation’s armed forces
for their service, selflessness and sacrifice.

James W. Polansky is superintendent of the Huntington school district


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