Bellone Orders All Schools Closed For Two Weeks

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. file photo

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has ordered all schools in the county to close for two weeks, beginning Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 27.

In a statement released Sunday, he said the order was tat the recommendation of the county health commissioner and in consultation with the school Superintendent’s Association.

“Today I am issuing a Local Emergency Order to close all Schools within Suffolk County for a period of two weeks beginning tomorrow, Monday, March 16,” he said. “As we prepared over the last several days for the potential closure announcement, we had discussions with state officials and the Suffolk County School Superintendent’s Association about critical issues involving meal programs for kids and childcare.”

He noted that there is evidence that the virus is already present in many area communities and that efforts now must be directed at preventing its spread.

“As part of our larger social distancing efforts, we believe that closing schools is the right thing to do at this time,” he said. “While kids are home from school we encourage parents to continue to follow County Health Department guidance and practice social distancing and to wash hands frequently to help contain the spread of the virus. If anyone in the family is symptomatic please stay home and quarantine yourself on a precautionary basis.”

“While schools are closed for instruction, administrators and teachers will still have access to school buildings for local district planning, distance-based education purposes, temporary grab-and-go meal programs and childcare issues,” he said.

Messages from the Springs, Bridgehampton and William Floyd districts all note the executive order.

“School will be CLOSED FOR STUDENTS AND STAFF on Monday, March 16, 2020 –March 27, 2020. Our County Executive, Steve Bellone ordered all Suffolk schools closed for two weeks,” a note to Bridgehampton community members from district officials circulated Sunday afternoon said.

The Bridgehampton Board of Education has scheduled an emergency meeting for Monday morning at 7 a.m., the notice continues, and more information will be shared after.

The Springs district sent out a similar notice.

“At this time, out of an abundance of caution; to give the district time to carefully work with local and state officials, our school will be closed Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 27,” it reads. “As of now, schools are scheduled to reopen on Monday, March 30. Keep in mind this may change. During this time, we will be engaged in continued cleaning of the school and we will continue to make preparations for distance learning.”