At its annual re-organizational meeting on Monday, the Sag Harbor Board of Education nominated Brian DeSesa to return in his role as board president, for a second term, while longtime board member Sandi Kruel was nominated and sworn in as vice president, a role she has served in the past.
Ms. Kruel has also served as president during her many years on the board, which began in 2000, with a few breaks in between. New board member Ryan Winter — who ran unopposed and took the seat vacated by Susan Schaefer, who stepped down — was also sworn in at the meeting.
What was the first in-person meeting for the board in more than a year — as was the case prior to the virus pandemic, Sag Harbor Schools has offered online viewing of its board meetings for many years now — lasted less than 45 minutes. The final few minutes of the meeting, before the board convened into executive session, were marked by one member of the public who brought up an issue likely increasingly on the minds of parents in the weeks to come, as the return to school draws closer.
Heather Hartstein, a mother of five children in the district, shared her concerns about what mask protocols might look like for students in the fall, adding she was particularly concerned about one of her children, who has Down Syndrome and a lower tolerance for wearing a mask. She expressed frustration with what she viewed as conflicting and frequently changing guidance from the New York State Department of Health and the CDC, and she also shared her concerns about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in children.
In response to her comments, board President Brian DeSesa said the board planned on addressing mask and other COVID-related safety protocols for the upcoming school year at the next board meeting, which is set for July 26.