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Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our District News and Updates Blog. As we work through the complexities of developing our reopening plan, we will be posting responses to some of the most frequently asked questions, derived from the emails we have received. We are grateful for the hundreds of emails and questions that have been submitted, though answering all of these emails individually is beyond our capacity. As such, we will be adding questions received with the best available answers on an ongoing basis. Please subscribe (click here) to receive notifications of new posts.

F.A.Q.

Will Masks be Mandatory?

The State of NH has chosen not to make wearing masks mandatory in their reopening guidelines. Therefore, the School Board will have to vote on the matter as a part of their deliberations on August 4th in order to make them mandatory by District policy. The administration supports mandatory masks with clear articulated expectations for their use. In the coming days, we will release details on these expectations, which will articulate both how masks are to be worn and when masks may be safely removed. The District intends to provide five cloth masks to each student who attends in person schooling. Daily mask wearing will be enforced in the same manner that all other school rules are enforced. Families expressing an overall objection to mask wearing are advised to choose remote learning as their best option.

What is the difference between Block and Hybrid Scheduling at LHS?

We are exploring a variety of different ways to reduce interaction between students in all schools, but LHS has unique challenges because of its size and the number of changes in classes made each day. The two main solutions are based upon the ideas of having fewer students in the building and reducing the number of transitions in a day.

A ‘block’ schedule would involve holding four longer classes each day, with classes meeting every other day. (For example A,B,C, and D Periods meet one day, E,F,G, and H periods the next.) All students could be in attendance, or this could be combined with other models with fewer students in the building. Instructional time remains the same because of the longer classes. This model presents challenges in scheduling and requires teachers to prepare differently, but would ensure that the amount of instructional time is preserved, and greatly reduces the number of times when students are in hallways.

A ‘Hybrid’ schedule would involve half of our students attending school in person each day, with the other half learning remotely. The following day, those students would switch, with the remote students coming in to school and those in school learning remotely. This would allow for much smaller groups of students in the building at once and for the use of a more traditional class schedule, but requires teachers and students to work both remotely and in person simultaneously, and reduces in person instructional time. It requires that individual families establish independent remote learning environments for their high school students. It will also require us to verify that all students have access to technology that can be used both in the classroom and at home.

The District does not propose to use a ‘Hybrid’ schedule for Grades PK-8, as we consider this model to be highly problematic both for the learning of younger students and for families in which all adults in the household must work. We also believe that the structure of elementary (individual classrooms) and middle school (Team pods) are conducive to our adherence to distancing guidelines given the current rate of infection in our area.

Is the District purchasing plexiglas dividers for desks?

No. We have not included these dividers in our plan for two key reasons. First, they are very difficult to keep clean and sanitary on an ongoing basis throughout the day. Second, they significantly disrupt the air flow in a room, rendering air filtration difficult. They are also not included in the State Guidelines, or any of the CDC Recommendations.

Will families be allowed to choose the option of having their students learn remotely if they wish, and would those remote learners be able to access in school programs or co curricular activities?

Yes they will. While we do understand that some families will choose to learn remotely, their students are still Londonderry students, and they will have access to all of the same materials, clubs, or other learning opportunities as those learning in person.

What is the difference between Remote Learning and Homeschooling?

Remote learners are still enrolled in the Londonderry School District. Their programs, instructional materials, and academic credit are still developed by our teachers and provided by the District. Homeschooled students are no longer enrolled in the Londonderry School District. When a family chooses to enter homeschooling, they assume full responsibility for all planning, instruction, materials, evaluation, and monitoring. The School District regards students entering homeschooling in the same manner that they do a student who transfers to another school district.

If a family chooses to enter remote learning, and their student receives special education services, is it possible for them to receive those services in the school building?

Yes, so long as in-person services are permissible under applicable health regulations. The special education administrator in each building will work in conjunction with your child’s case manager to identify when those services will occur in the building during their scheduled time.

If a family chooses to enter remote learning, and their student receives special education services, is it possible for them to receive those services remotely?

Yes, the special education administrator in each building will work in conjunction with your child’s case manager to identify how those services will occur in the remote setting.  The delivery of services and future case management will be overseen by a staff member devoted to remote learning.

Can families choose to change from in-person to remote learning, or remote to in person, during the school year?

Yes they can, with some limitations. Families will be asked to make a choice prior to the start of school. There will be a ‘grace period’ of 2-3 weeks (to be determined) at the start of school during which families can reconsider their initial choice. Once the year is fully underway, we will require that students remain in their choice of learning environments until the close of the marking period, in order to ensure that a transition can be made without significant impact to their learning. Exceptions will be considered for extenuating circumstances.

How will remote learning look different this fall than it did this past spring?

District teachers and administrators have done a considerable amount of work this spring and summer in improving our ability to offer remote learning. After analyzing the results of our end of year surveys of parents, students, and staff, teacher teams from each building have been working with administrators to develop new guidelines addressing the frequency and type of communication, as well as means of supporting the social and emotional needs of students.

How will Moose Hill School facilitate social distancing with our youngest learners?

First, we are looking for ways to create more space within the classroom, primarily by removing furniture or materials that would not be conducive to distancing. (Touch tables, common use manipulatives, etc.) We are also looking to remove materials stored in classrooms that would occupy space. PK and K students do not have their own desks, so we will demonstrate spacing visually or kinesthetically for the students. (Use of floor markings, ‘pool noodles’ or other materials).

We are also working on ways to enhance existing cleaning processes, as well as ways of facilitating things like recess and dismissal in more distanced ways. Most of all, staff are developing ways to teach students about hygiene and precautions in a way that is positive and developmentally appropriate. We are working on ideas to introduce face masks, though are keenly aware of the challenges. We are also following daycare models/studies that have been open throughout the pandemic with no evidence of spread or cluster spikes as the risk of infection in small children is very low.  Much more information will be forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead.

Why are student temperature checks not a part of the initial District plan?

Checking student temperatures each day would require queuing large groups of students at the school entrances, creating a greater risk of transmission. To be most effective as a screening tool, temperature checks should be done at home prior to entering a public setting. Temperature checks will not identify asymptomatic students. Temperatures checks are also readily subject to the ambient temperature, leading to both false positives and negative results.

What will the school do if there is a suspected or positive COVID-19 case in the school?

We are developing a comprehensive guide to protocols surrounding any suspected COVID case that will be released prior to school starting. All school personnel, including school nurses, teachers and administration will be trained on how to respond in the face of a possible infection. Any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be reported immediately to public health by calling 603-271-4496.  The district will work with public health to identify close contacts and identify who will need to quarantine for 14 days. In conjunction with public health guidelines, a person can return to school once symptom-based criteria are met for discontinuation of isolation.

What are symptom-based criteria for discontinuation isolation?

Any person with COVID-19 symptoms who is not tested and can be managed at home should self-isolate until:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, and
  • At least 72 hours (3 days) have passed since recovery – which is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms.

 What does classroom capacity look like if distancing guidelines are followed?

This depends on the size of the room, which varies across the District. Our building administrators and staff have been in each classroom in their buildings, and are establishing capacities for each. Our intent is to stay as close to 6’ distancing between desks or seats to the greatest degree possible. While capacities vary, on average in Gr K-8, we are estimating 18 students per classroom while maintaining 6’ distances.

 How will student transportation operate?

  • All drivers and students will be required to wear masks during the operation
  • The bus capacity will be two students per bench
  • Students will be assigned seating (Siblings will be assigned to the same bench whenever possible)
  • Maximum ventilation will be provided
  • All buses will be cleaned between runs; and sanitized when return to bus terminal
  • High School and Middle School students will be riding the same bus routes
  • Parents are encouraged to supervise social distancing at bus stops while waiting for the bus
  • Specialized transportation will be provided using A and B routes to allow for physical distancing as needed.

Why is there a range now of 3 to 6 feet of physical distancing guidelines for NH Schools?

Over the last six weeks, the emerging science on COVID-19 has been updated by the scientific community to reflect that fact that physical distancing at 3 feet and 6 feet can both be effective mitigation approaches, especially when combined with other strategies such as wearing face masks. It is important to note, that we are messaging as a school district that it is the combination of our mitigation strategies working together that will increase the safety and lower the risk of infection for both staff and students, like wearing face masks AND focusing on physical distancing in class.

As part of our reopening plans, our goal is be at or above 6 feet of physical distancing for students while they are seated and working in class. From analyzing our typical classroom spaces we believe we can safely place 16 to 17 students in a classroom in our elementary schools and middle school and maintain 6 feet of social distancing. In our high school, we believe we can safely place 18 to 19 students in a classroom and maintain 6 feet of social distancing. Based on our current parent responses from our July 2020 reopening survey to parents, we can place the students that want to come to in person school this year in classrooms and be able to meet that 6 feet of physical distancing in nearly all settings. However, we also realize that school is a dynamic place, and it is our combination of seeking these class sizes, along with our other mitigation strategies such as face masks specifically that will keep students and staff safe when they are under 6 feet from each other. We do not currently project we will have classroom settings where students and staff will be required to be less than 3 feet of physical distance from each other in our general education settings for extended periods of time. Further personal protective gear (such as face shields etc.) will be provided for staff and students if they will be closer to each other than these guidelines for extended periods of time.

The specific science on the 3 foot to 6 foot physical distancing guideline:
A June 1st 2020 study published in The Lancet looked at 172 different observational studies from 16 countries and 6 continents of the coronavirus and other similar viruses to find that that transmission rate of the virus was low at both the 3 foot and 6 foot physical distance range in both health care and community settings, such as schools. Other countries in Europe and Asia have been updating their physical distancing guidelines to this 3 foot to 6 foot range as a results of these findings especially as they moved away from their initial school reopening plans and found that combining multiple mitigation strategies, which is what the Londonderry School District is proposing, is what will keep students and staff safe.

Below is a chart that shows the findings from The Lancet study referenced above that shows the findings around 3 feet and 6 feet of physical distancing. The study considers a school where students also wear face masks a setting that has a “low baseline for risk.”

covid-19 distancing chart

What is the thinking and science behind allowing 2 students to sit in each seat on a school bus?

Much like the discussion around 3 feet versus 6 feet of physical distance in the classroom, we are proposing 2 students on a bench because it includes a collection of mitigation strategies working together to keep the students and bus drives safe while they are on the bus. With students wearing masks while they are on the bus, and making sure the buses are cleaned in between runs, and before runs happen every day, we are making the buses a safe environment. The added difference for our bus runs will be the increased ventilation that will happen on the buses with the windows and hatches open that we cannot benefit from in a classroom. The increased cleaning, face masks, and increased ventilation will mitigate risk along with having assigned seats for students while they are on the bus.

The spacing of students is central to the process of planning for capacity. Two students per seat  allows for 52 students per standard sized bus. Under this model, we would have adequate space to transport all students (given some route alterations) in a single bus run. We would have students with siblings sit together, and that single seats would be issued to the greatest degree possible. Assigned seating is a part of any plan under consideration.

Should we choose instead to implement a standard of one student per seat, this would reduce the capacity of a standard bus to 26 students. While exact details would depend on the number of students to be transported, we can reasonably predict that a significant number of the buses would need to carry out two runs for each school in order to transport all students to school. The result would be that any students picked up on the second run would arrive at school approximately 30-40 minutes after the first run. This means that the start time of school would have to be staggered or delayed in order for all students to arrive and likewise to depart in the afternoons. It would also result in increased need for students from the first runs having to queue and to move around the school, as well as add to  non-instructional time requiring supervision. We would have to either bring on more contracted staff to supervise students for this prolonged arrival, or embed the arrival time in the instructional day, which would result in a decrease of instructional time by 60-80 minutes per day.

We did look into adding buses to the fleet in order to accommodate this, but have learned that school bus procurement has been delayed significantly by pandemic-related plant closures and a dramatic increase in demand resulting from other districts exploring similar plans. Additionally, STA has indicated that there is a significant shortage of licensed school bus drivers, and that they anticipate difficulty in even staffing our existing routes. So, even if STA were able to find buses, it will be very difficult to find people to drive them.

Ultimately, we want to be sure to keep our students as safe as possible. Our position is  that two masked students per seat is safe, which means that many of the logistics issues are resolved.

Will there be school bus transportation to and from day care providers from Moose Hill School?

Yes, but to Moose Hill only. Due to bus capacity limitations, we are currently unable to provide transportation to or from the following daycares for ELEMENTARY students (Grades 1-5): Applewood Learning Center, Creative Little Angels, Cozy Kids Child Care, Londonderry Learning Academy, The Learning Tree, World of Discovery and The YMCA.
Where the Moose Hill bus runs to and from daycare providers are separate, and have far fewer students riding each bus, we will still be running transportation to and from these daycare providers to Moose Hill School for both AM and PM sessions.

Will the District be working with the YMCA on before and after school care this year?

Yes. We will continue to work with the YMCA to offer these services. They will be observing the details of the School District plan for reopening regarding safety measures and cleaning. Details are being worked out, and the YMCA will be releasing information on these programs in the near future.

IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED FOR REGULAR BUS TRANSPORTATION GRADES 1-12

****IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED FOR REGULAR BUS TRANSPORTATION GRADES 1-12****

(if your child takes Special Ed transportation you do not need to fill this form out)

The deadline to fill out the bus form to opt in/opt out of bus transportation has been extended to Wednesday, August 12th.

The link is:  https://link.zixcentral.com/u/7dbe3a3d/RqWj8v-X6hG0Ws8Ih3soMg?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftransportationdepartment.formstack.com%2Fforms%2Flondonderry_nh_busregistration_20_21

You will need your child’s LASID number (locally assigned student ID) which can be accessed from the Parent Portal.
You can log in at:  X2.londonderry.org
New Students can put NEW in the Student ID box

Parent Portal FAQs:

https://sites.google.com/a/londonderry.org/sau12-aspen-faq/home

If you are not able to locate the LASID number, please contact the main office of the school your child attends.

Bus Registration

Parents MUST fill out the attached bus form by Sunday, August 9th for each student in Grades 1-12 to opt in or opt out of bus transportation for the upcoming school year.

https://transportationdepartment.formstack.com/forms/londonderry_nh_busregistration_20_21

All Moose Hill parents need to contact the Moose Hill main office to confirm the bus sheets they have on file are up to date.

Bus routes are expected to be posted on the District web page on Friday, August 28th.

Your prompt attention is necessary to help the District follow the guidelines listed in our reopening plan approved at the School Board meeting on August 4th.

School Reopening Plan

You can find a copy of the plan here: Reopening Plan.

By completing the survey below you are letting us know your choice to reopen school for each of your children. You can choose different options for each of your children if that works for your family. Here is the Google Form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdUYYbfnQZbqtJM1JCg-u6SfhpAmS-QWJp4WxaBPCM7Ja7j4A/viewform

Reopening Schools Safely Webinar (Recording)

The link below is a recording of a webinar supplied by the School District’s insurance company on how to safely reopen schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The webinar provides a series of questions and answers to the more frequently asked questions in the public health environment for schools to consider when developing reopening plans for school.

Click Here to View Webinar.

What is the thinking and science behind  allowing 2 students to sit in each seat on a school bus? 

Much like the discussion around 3 feet versus 6 feet of physical distance in the classroom, we are proposing 2 students on a bench because it includes a collection of mitigation strategies working together to keep the students and bus drives safe while they are on the bus. With students wearing masks while they are on the bus, and making sure the buses are cleaned in between runs, and before runs happen every day, we are making the buses a safe environment. The added difference for our bus runs will be the increased ventilation that will happen on the buses with the windows and hatches open that we cannot benefit from in a classroom. The increased cleaning, face masks, and increased ventilation will mitigate risk along with having assigned seats for students while they are on the bus.

The spacing of students is central to the process of planning for capacity. Two students per seat  allows for 52 students per standard sized bus. Under this model, we would have adequate space to transport all students (given some route alterations) in a single bus run. We would have students with siblings sit together, and that single seats would be issued to the greatest degree possible. Assigned seating is a part of any plan under consideration.

Should we choose instead to implement a standard of one student per seat, this would reduce the capacity of a standard bus to 26 students. While exact details would depend on the number of students to be transported, we can reasonably predict that a significant number of the buses would need to carry out two runs for each school in order to transport all students to school. The result would be that any students picked up on the second run would arrive at school approximately 30-40 minutes after the first run. This means that the start time of school would have to be staggered or delayed in order for all students to arrive and likewise to depart in the afternoons. It would also result in increased need for students from the first runs having to queue and to move around the school, as well as add to  non-instructional time requiring supervision. We would have to either bring on more contracted staff to supervise students for this prolonged arrival, or embed the arrival time in the instructional day, which would result in a decrease of instructional time by 60-80 minutes per day.

We did look into adding buses to the fleet in order to accommodate this, but have learned that school bus procurement has been delayed significantly by pandemic-related plant closures and a dramatic increase in demand resulting from other districts exploring similar plans. Additionally, STA has indicated that there is a significant shortage of licensed school bus drivers, and that they anticipate difficulty in even staffing our existing routes. So, even if STA were able to find buses, it will be very difficult to find people to drive them.

Ultimately, we want to be sure to keep our students as safe as possible. Our position is  that two masked students per seat is safe, which means that many of the logistics issues are resolved.

Legal Notice of Public Hearing (Tuesday, August 18, 2020)

LONDONDERRY SCHOOL DISTRICT
LEGAL NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

UPDATE: The Londonderry School District will conduct a public hearing on the acceptance of the Federal
CARES ESSER Grant. The Londonderry School District is scheduled to receive $168,605.83 to defray the
costs associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Such funds shall be received under RSA 198:20-b,
appropriations for Unanticipated Funds. It will take place at the Londonderry High School, 295 Mammoth
Road, Londonderry, New Hampshire in the Cafeteria. The date has changed from Tuesday, August 4,
2020 to Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 7:00pm. The public is invited to attend.

Public Hearing Notice-CARES ESSER Grant 8-18-20-20

Why is there a range now of 3 to 6 feet of physical distancing guidelines for NH Schools?

Over the last six weeks, the emerging science on COVID-19 has been updated by the scientific community to reflect that fact that physical distancing at 3 feet and 6 feet can both be effective mitigation approaches, especially when combined with other strategies such as wearing face masks. It is important to note, that we are messaging as a school district that it is the combination of our mitigation strategies working together that will increase the safety and lower the risk of infection for both staff and students, like wearing face masks AND focusing on physical distancing in class.

As part of our reopening plans, our goal is be at or above 6 feet of physical distancing for students while they are seated and working in class. From analyzing our typical classroom spaces we believe we can safely place 16 to 17 students in a classroom in our elementary schools and middle school and maintain 6 feet of social distancing. In our high school, we believe we can safely place 18 to 19 students in a classroom and maintain 6 feet of social distancing. Based on our current parent responses from our July 2020 reopening survey to parents, we can place the students that want to come to in person school this year in classrooms and be able to meet that 6 feet of physical distancing in nearly all settings. However, we also realize that school is a dynamic place, and it is our combination of seeking these class sizes, along with our other mitigation strategies such as face masks specifically that will keep students and staff safe when they are under 6 feet from each other. We do not currently project we will have classroom settings where students and staff will be required to be less than 3 feet of physical distance from each other in our general education settings for extended periods of time. Further personal protective gear (such as face shields etc.) will be provided for staff and students if they will be closer to each other than these guidelines for extended periods of time.

The specific science on the 3 foot to 6 foot physical distancing guideline:
A June 1st 2020 study published in The Lancet looked at 172 different observational studies from 16 countries and 6 continents of the coronavirus and other similar viruses to find that that transmission rate of the virus was low at both the 3 foot and 6 foot physical distance range in both health care and community settings, such as schools. Other countries in Europe and Asia have been updating their physical distancing guidelines to this 3 foot to 6 foot range as a results of these findings especially as they moved away from their initial school reopening plans and found that combining multiple mitigation strategies, which is what the Londonderry School District is proposing, is what will keep students and staff safe.

Below is a chart that shows the findings from The Lancet study referenced above that shows the findings around 3 feet and 6 feet of physical distancing. The study considers a school where students also wear face masks a setting that has a “low baseline for risk.”

covid-19 distancing chart

Student Transportation Update

 How will student transportation operate?

  • All drivers and students will be required to wear masks during the operation
  • The bus capacity will be two students per bench
  • Students will be assigned seating (Siblings will be assigned to the same bench whenever possible)
  • Maximum ventilation will be provided
  • All buses will be cleaned between runs; and sanitized when return to bus terminal
  • High School and Middle School students will be riding the same bus routes
  • Parents are encouraged to supervise social distancing at bus stops while waiting for the bus
  • Specialized transportation will be provided using A and B routes to allow for physical distancing as needed.

August 4th Board Meeting and Public Hearing Update

The Tuesday, August 4, 2020 Londonderry School Board Regular Meeting will take place at 6:00pm in the LHS Café.

The Public Hearing scheduled for August 4, 2020 has been rescheduled for August 18, 2020 at 7:00pm in the LHS Café. As always, the public is invited to attend all Board meetings and Public Hearings.