April 3, 2020
I sincerely hope that this finds you and your loved ones well and in good health. As you know,
the response to COVID-19 continues to evolve daily and guidelines change quickly. I thank you
all for your patience, understanding and support as we navigate these challenges.
Earlier this week, we received updated guidance from the New York State Education Department
informing us that the Governor’s order closing schools for an additional 2 weeks would also
require schools to continue to provide meals for students, child care for essential workers and
continued remote learning “every weekday between April 1, 2020 and April 14, 2020, even if the
district is scheduled to be on spring break.” This is a change from the Governor’s previous orders
and presents conflicts with some days of religious observance. School districts that do not abide
by the executive order to continue to provide instruction risk losing state aide. This potential
loss of important revenue is not an option for our school district and community. Therefore, as
required, we will continue to provide remote instruction during this time.
On Monday, April 13 we will move into Phase 3 of our continuity of instruction plan.
Instruction will begin to look somewhat different so we would like to prepare students to be ready for this next phase. Therefore, on Thursday and Friday, April 9 and 10, which coincide
with the days of religious observance, as well as the end of the 3 marking period at the Jr. Sr.
High School, no new content will be presented. During that time, students should continue to
work on assigned projects and catch up on any pending assignments that still need to be
completed. This time should allow students to be caught up and ready for Phase 3 which will
include an increase in direct instruction to support shared learning activities as well as the
introduction of new learning to support the content expectations for each subject and grade.
We understand that this situation has been difficult. We heard this week from a number of
parents during the Principals’ Coffee and Conversation sessions, how challenging it can be
working from home while simultaneously supporting your children’s learning. We also heard
how pleased families are with the instruction being provided and the attention children are
receiving from our faculty. We understand that spring recess may have served as a welcome
reprieve, however, the continuation of remote learning will help keep students on the proper
trajectory for when we hopefully return to school. School districts cannot lawfully recess for the
religious holidays; however, we understand that students and faculty may observe these days,
just as one might do under normal circumstances when school is in session. Therefore, we ask
both families and teachers to be mindful of this. Teachers should understand if during this time
assignments are not done in a timely fashion. Families should respect that teachers may not hold
their regular office hours on these days or respond to emails. Your understanding will be much
As a reminder, we continue to provide breakfast and lunch free of charge to all children in our
community. A new schedule for meal pick up will be posted on our website beginning next
week to minimize the frequency that families need to leave their homes. The District also
continues to offer child care through Scope for the children of essential workers at no charge.
Please see the registration information on our website.
Per Governor Cuomo's most recent Executive Order, the school Budget Vote and Board Election
are postponed until at least June 1, 2020. We will provide further information once the final date
With the number of positive COVID-19 cases growing in our area, we understand that some of
you may be dealing with health concerns. To those of you who may be ill, our thoughts are with
you for a quick recovery. Please remember we are here to support you and your children
however we can. Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns. I thank you again for
your continued support. I hope to see you all soon.
Superintendent of Schools
March 27, 2020
Message from Superintendent Lisa Ruiz
Dear East Rockaway Families,
I hope this letter finds you well as you continue to adjust to the new normal in which we are
living. As you are well aware, the situation with the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to rapidly
evolve. We remain focused on what is best for the health and safety of our students, staff and
community, and for the continuation of learning during this challenging time.
As you are probably aware, Governor Cuomo extended school closures statewide through April
15. As that date falls within our regularly scheduled spring recess we would expect to remain
closed through that time and open schools on April 20 unless there is another executive order
issued within that time frame. If schools remain closed beyond April 20, remote learning will
resume. Since we have not yet received guidance from the Governor regarding whether these
additional days will be waived from the 180 day requirement, it is possible we could be required
to make up the days. We will await further guidance and inform you as soon as we know. I will
continue to communicate with you to provide general updates on our school district operations.
Our school buildings have been cleaned and sanitized and offices and classrooms have been
closed off in order to keep them free from any further exposure. As you are aware, we have
closed the district offices to the public with the exception of Rhame Avenue Elementary School
which will operate as a child care site through Scope for children of essential workers beginning
Monday, March 30. Please see our website for further information should you require this
service. We continue to be available to answer your questions and support you in any way we
can. Please consult the district’s website on the coronavirus information section for the clerical
and administrator emails and phone numbers and please reach out to us with any questions or
concerns that you may have.
We are aware that some members of our community may be struggling financially. We have
posted a list of food banks in our area on our website and we are working with Island Harvest to
deliver food to those families in need. Please reach out to an administrator or mental health
support staff member if we can assist you to connect with these supports. Remember: we are
here for you. As a reminder, lunch and breakfast are served daily to all children in the East
Rockaway community Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 12 PM. Meals can be picked up
at the high school in the back parking lot near the cafeteria. We encourage you to take
advantage of this service. As a reminder, meals will not be served during Spring break, from
April 8 through April 19, unless schools are required to open.
During the closure, we are striving to provide a continuity of learning for our students. Our
teachers and administrators continue to work diligently on ways to provide meaningful and
engaging learning experiences. Instruction will look different depending on the subject and
grade. We have heard from many families and the majority are pleased with our approach.
However, a few feel it is too much and some may feel it is not enough. We appreciate your
feedback and have worked hard to design our instructional plan to meet our students’ and
families’ needs and schedules. If you have a particular concern with a lesson or subject, please
contact your child’s teacher and then a chairperson or administrator if you need further
assistance. I commend the hard work, dedication, creativity and concern displayed by all of our
faculty and administrators. We appreciate your understanding and patience regarding this new
approach to learning. We know this will not take the place of face to face classroom instruction.
During this time, we again request that parents and caregivers monitor their students’
participation in the learning activities provided. Parent support and supervision is critical to
ensure that these remote learning opportunities are accessed so students may receive the benefits
while school is closed so students will transition more easily when schools reopen. It is critical
that all students remain academically engaged in order to maintain skills and, as we move
forward, advance their learning. I remind you that teachers will respond to emails and requests
for callbacks during regular school hours. In addition, please address all technology issues to
Carol Hernandez at email@example.com or visit
Thank you for your continued flexibility and cooperation during this unprecedented time. We
understand there are questions, concerns, and “what if” situations that will continue to surface.
We ask that as needs arise, you stay in close communication with our school district. We will
continue to provide routine updates as new information becomes available, so please remain
connected with our school community by checking our website and the various social media
options available. Your patience and support are appreciated during this challenging situation.
We look forward to when we will be able to return to school, hopefully this school year, and
reestablish the routines and structures we know are critical for student success. As a community
we will continue to remain calm, together, and informed.
Thank you again and stay healthy and safe.
Lisa J. Ruiz
Letters and Resources
AP and Regents Letter
Update: June 2020 NYS Regents Exam Information
Update: 2020 AP Exam Information
Update on the Coronavirus with Updated Information About Potential School Closings and the District's Continuity of Learning Plan
Update on the Coronavirus with Updated Information About Potential School Closings and the District's Continuity of Learning Plan (Spanish)
Letter - NYS Testing
Coronavirus Letter to Parents
Indoor Activities for Kids
Comic for Kids to Explain Coronavirus
Stuck at Home With Young Kids?
Admin Extensions and Emails
Continuity of Instruction
Continuity of Instruction (Spanish)
Pandemic Fact Sheet
CDC Coronavirus Information
Schoolhealth NY Coronavirus Information
Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus) (Spanish)
What you need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
2019-nCoV What the public should do
Lo que necesita saber sobre la enfermedad del coronavirus 2019(COVID-19)