Prior to the start of the school year, South Huntington School District made a video so kids would know what to expect.
But already, the twists and turns have begun.
At the Countrywood Primary Center, home to nearly 600 of the district's youngest students in grades K through two, no one will return to school until September 24.
The superintendent made the difficult decision after a teacher at the school tested positive for COVID-19, a teacher who had contact spanning across the student population.
"The entire building could have had some sort of contact, that made me cautious, made our team start to say, you know what, it's too big a risk with other people's children," South Huntington Superintendent Dr. David Bennardo said.
It is not the only district weathering these new ups and shutdowns.
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Each one of them is entirely different from the next, forcing parents to accept a new normal.
"It's definitely stressful, a lot of apprehension," Seaford mom Amanda Romano said. "I didn't know if I should send her, if I should keep her home."
Meanwhile, in the Plainedge School District, up to 40 students in the middle school and high school are now being told to stay home for up to 14 days after they were playing football over the weekend with a student who tested positive for COVID.
They cannot return until they test negative.
Aside from Plainedge and South Huntington, there have also been reports of COVID cases in Syosset, Seaford, Port Washington, West Babylon and Smithtown, where the case turned out to be a false positive.
Doctors say the short-term shutdowns have a purpose.
"By taking that pause, it gives them the time to say, 'Let's figure it out.' A lot of times, they will not need to isolate the entire class," said Dr. Sharon Nachman of Stony Brook Children's Hospital.
They say the key is giving school officials and contact tracers time to ask the questions that could keep their kids safe and in school as long as possible.
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