Reopen News: Long Island schools see surge in enrollment as families flee NYC

EAST END, Long Island (WABC) -- School districts on the East End of Long Island are seeing a surge in enrollment this fall, mostly with families from New York City.

Superintendents in Westhampton Beach, East Hampton, Quogue, Sag Harbor and Montauk all report to Eyewitness News that their districts have dozens of new students.

In Quogue, the school district is seeing an almost 50'% increase in enrollment from 85 children at the end of last school year to 135 students this fall. The district serves students in grades pre-K through 6th.

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Quogue Superintendent Jeffrey Ryvicker said most of the new families have second homes in Quogue and have decided to keep their children in school there.

"They've always been a part of our community, just not the community that's here during the school year," he said. "To have them here year round now and to have all of our kids together is just really exciting for our school."

Ryvicker said one of the biggest challenges was finding space for the new students. They have converted a music and art room into a second-grade classroom, and the library will now be used as a classroom for sixth-grade students.

"We're trying to maximize space," he said.

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In East Hampton, the school district has more than 50 new families, according to Superintendent Richard Burns, who said most of the new students are elementary students.

School officials in the Montauk public school system said they have approximately 40 new students.

In Sag Harbor, school district officials are reporting a 10% increase in enrollment.

"Working with parents and staff, we have focused on optimizing our facility space so that we comply with all guidance issued by New York State," Superintendent Jeff Nichols said.

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School officials in Westhampton Beach did not provide Eyewitness News with specific enrollment figures but described the increase as "dozens."

"This summer, the district was met with the unique challenge of preparing for the reopening of schools while welcoming dozens of new enrollees," Westhampton Beach Superintendent Michael Radday said. "Our top priority was to create class schedules and educational environments that comply with all social distancing and safety mandates while fostering positive instructional experiences."

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