NASSAU COUNTY (CBSNewYork) — The end of Labor Day Weekend means the start of the school year for many families on Long Island.

Students can expect the classroom to look much different this year, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported Monday.

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Pencils, backpacks and plastic shields are this year’s back-to-school essentials, and this week will bring the largest wave of schools reopening in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Preparing him to wear a mask all day and then what am I gonna do with him the days he’s not in school,” parent Liliana Acevedo said when asked about her concerns.

“In my opinion, it’s an atomic bomb waiting to explode,” Freeport parent Jose Solano added.


Parents’ anxiety isn’t helped by many districts warning of students and staff testing positive for COVID-19 before the semester even begins.

New Hyde Park High School’s first day is Thursday, and one staff member who tested positive, along with nine other employees who had close contact with them, must sit out the first two weeks.

The same goes for a middle school employee in the Bellmore-Merrick School District, where classes start Tuesday.

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And ahead of the Carle Place School District’s first day on Wednesday, the superintendent sent a letter to parents warning four students have tested positive. Those students, as well as anyone who came in close contact, cannot come to class until they are symptom free for two weeks.

“I feel like there’s a lot of back and forth on whether the schools are ready or not,” New Hyde Park parent Tatiana Espinal said.

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Plainedge Public Schools got a head start last week. Photos show students sitting spaced apart, and wearing masks behind plastic shields.

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And in Suffolk County, the South Huntington School District made a video showing what the school day will look like once classes start Tuesday.

“If you ride a bus you must wear a mask. If you don’t have a mask the bus driver will provide you with a disposable mask,” a district spokesman said.

South Huntington also has hallway stickers 6 feet apart with arrows to guide the flow of foot traffic.

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Older students will carry their plastic “sneeze guards” to each class, including where they eat lunch.

“Put the place mat down, put your sneeze guard up and you can get online for lunch. Once you get back to your seat you’ll be able to go to the bathroom to wash your hands,” the spokesman said.

“I’m a little nervous, but I’m excited at the same time,” Acevedo said.

For a school year like no other, families must be prepared and flexible.

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