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Riverhead to bring back nine-period school day

The Riverhead Central School District plans to resume nine-period days during the next school year, according to Dr. Augustine Tornatore, superintendent of the district.

The change was discussed at the Board of Education’s Nov. 1 meeting.

The district has been operating with eight-period days since the 2013-14 school year, when budget cuts were made to keep tax hikes below the state-mandated 2% cap.

“We’re going to be shaving off a few minutes per period. Of course, we’ll be within the legal requirements but this way we’ll be able to have that extra period where students will be able to have more opportunities,” Dr. Tornatore said.

According to the current bell schedule, each period at Riverhead High School is 47 minutes long. If the change is implemented, each period would be 41 minutes long, as they were when the district previously offered nine periods per day, according to high school principal Sean O’Hara.

“We are still in the planning phase,” Mr. O’Hara said. “I am looking forward to working with the committee to explore how we can maximize the benefits of a nine-period day. This is an opportunity to enhance the educational experience for all of our students.”

For students, the extra time would mean more extracurriculars and even a lunch period for those who sacrificed lunch for an extra class.

“I’m very hopeful that we’re able to present a fair budget that will be voted on by the community and then hopefully if that budget does pass that will help us with this journey of restoring the nine periods for all the buildings,” Dr. Tornatore said.

HCARE Summer STUDENTS recognized

In July, Riverhead High School students participated in an online pilot program called Health Careers, Academic Readiness and Excellence, organized by Stony Brook University’s School of Health Technology and Management.

The seven-day program was targeted to high school students interested in pursuing careers in health care fields. For three hours each day, participants learned about college readiness, resume building and mock interviewing. They alsBo heard from industry professionals, such as EMTs, physical and occupational therapists and anesthesiologists.

Erik Flynn, clinical lecturer at Stony Brook University, attended Monday’s school board meeting to present certificates of completion to nine students who participated in this summer’s program: Sherlynn Canel-Estrada, Patrick Cerna, Kiara Chabla-Sarmiento, Carolina Hernandez-Alvarez, Angelina Maligres, Kaysee Mojo, Deanna North, Sa’niyia Stevens and Alyssa Warnken.

Certificates were also issued for three other participants — Ava Gradisher, Marissa Lehman and Joseph Pozgay — who have since graduated or are no longer in the district. 

Letter to Gov. Hochul

Board of Education members decided Monday to write to Gov. Kathy Hochul asking for more information regarding state mask and vaccine mandates.

Most board members, however, were opposed to including any opinion or position on either mandate in the letter. 

Any questions board members have for the governor will be emailed to Dr. Tornatore, who will draft a letter that will then be presented to the school board for approval.

No schedule for when the letter was to be presented to the board or sent to the governor was discussed.

The Shoreham-Wading River Board of Education sent a letter dated Oct. 26 to the state requesting that officials prioritize guidelines for when masks will no longer be required in schools. Superintendent Gerard Poole read the letter during the board’s meeting last Tuesday.

“Students need to know that they won’t be required to wear masks forever and NY State can do that by letting our students know what the conditions need to be in their communities in order to safely remove masks in schools,” the letter said.

A copy of the letter is posted on the district website.