The months since the pandemic began have seen "almost a 100 percent increase in the student population of the Amagansett School," according to Seth Turner, superintendent of the Amagansett School District.
Mr. Turner, who dropped in unexpectedly on Monday night on a virtual meeting of the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee, told its members that the school year ending in June 2020 had just 65 children in prekindergarten through sixth grade. Now there are 136, including six new students who enrolled over Christmas, plus another 56 in grades 7 through 12 who attend middle and high school in East Hampton, for a grand total of 192 students in the district.
In August, the school added three new teaching positions in preparation for the influx. The average class size is now between 15 and 18 children, which Mr. Turner called "a healthy number to have."
"We had to move classes" to accommodate the six-foot-apart Covid-19 mandate, he said. The kindergartners now meet in the library; the fifth graders in the former music room. Music classes, where the virus can spread via respiratory particles when singers expel their breath, require a 12-foot distance and are now being taught in the gym. On nice days, the choristers go outside, he said.
Students learn together in the same pods, the superintendent explained, "and we bring art and the library to them," rather than moving them from room to room as formerly. "If someone has the virus, you don't want it spread through the building."
The Amagansett School has been open since September for in-school learning. "It doesn't look like the state wants to shut down schools anymore," Mr. Turner reported with a smile.