Early Release Day on Friday, September 25, 2020

Good afternoon.

As you may or may not be aware, one of our Londonderry Alumni, RJ Ouellette (’15) was recently killed while serving in the US Air Force in Kuwait. Earlier today, we learned that his remains will be returned home to Londonderry in a full military procession this coming Friday afternoon, beginning at the Manchester Airport and ending at the Peabody Funeral Home on Mammoth Rd. The procession is scheduled from 2:15 – 3:00 PM, and is expected to be heavily attended. In our desire to contribute to the honoring of one of our own, and so as not to be a distraction to a very somber event, we will be dismissing school early on Friday.

Building administrators will be sending out amended schedules ASAP.

We are grateful for your understanding as we honor the sacrifice of one of our own Lancers.

Early Release Times: 

             LHS will dismiss at 12:05pm

             LMS will dismiss at 12:25pm

             Elementary Schools will dismiss at 1:20pm.

             No afternoon Kindergarten or LEEP at Moose Hill

 

What are the different scenarios where my family might have to quarantine during the school year even if no one in our household tests positive for COVID-19?

The New Hampshire Division and Health and Human Services released a “COVID 19 School Toolkit” on September 9th that lays out a couple of different scenarios that might mean a family might need to quarantine during the school year even if no one in their household tests positive for COVID-19.

Travel outside of New England

Scenario A – Whole Family Travels Outside New England

Right now, per the Governor’s orders, any family member that travels outside of New England will need to quarantine from school for 14 days upon their return to New Hampshire. They can return to school after those 14 days assuming they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. A negative test during this quarantine time period will not allow you to come back early per the New Hampshire Public Health Guidelines. 

Scenario B – One Family Member Travels Outside New England and Becomes Symptomatic Back in New Hampshire

If you have a family member that travels outside of New England and develops COVID-19 symptoms when they return, all other members in your family now become “household contacts.” Household contacts will need to quarantine until that family member,  who traveled outside of New England, tests negative for COVID-19.

As a school district, we are recommending the family member who travelled outside of New England gets tested, so that if it comes back negative the students who are “household contacts” can come back to school sooner.  (Assuming they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms)

If your family chooses not to get tested, then the household contacts would need to quarantine for 14 days and could return to school after that time period assuming they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms.

If you have a family member that travels outside of New England, and they do not develop any symptoms of COVID-19 when they return, then no one from your household will have to quarantine assuming they are not symptomatic themselves.

Being a Close Contact for a confirmed case of COVID-19

A close contact is defined as being under six feet for more than ten minutes.

If one of your family members is determined to be a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, they will need to quarantine for at least 14 days from their last close contact with the confirmed COVID-19 case. It is recommended that they get tested during this quarantine as well, but a negative result will not shorten the length of the quarantine. If after 14 days of quarantine since contact with the confirmed COVID-19 case, and they do not have any symptoms, they can return to school with or without a negative test.

During this time period, when one of your family members is quarantined for being a close contact, all other members of the household will be considered “household contacts.” Those household contacts cannot return to school, and quarantine themselves, until the member in your family that is the close contact tests negative for COVID-19.

As a school system we are recommending that the family member who is determined to be a close contact gets tested, so that a negative test result will allow any student that is considered a household contact to come back to school sooner.

Can my student wear a “gaiter” to school as a face mask?

We have been monitoring the guidance on gaiters since our Reopening Plan was approved on August 4th. Since that approval, the New Hampshire Division of Health and Human Services has not changed their guidance on gaiters. However, the Centers for Disease Control did update their guidance on gaiters and has provided more caution in their use. We are summarizing their stance below:

On the CDC’s web page titled, “How to Select, Wear, and Clean Your Mask” they state, “CDC does not recommend the use of gaiters or face shields. Evaluation of these face coverings is ongoing but effectiveness is unknown at this time.” Further down the page, they do not go as far as saying families should not choose to wear gaiters like they do with face masks that contain valves. They simply state that families should use “caution.”

At this point in time, the science around the effectiveness of gaiters is not settled by the scientific community. For this reason, we are making our families aware of the CDC stance and allowing them to adjust their daily practices around face masks if they should choose. If the New Hampshire Division of Health and Human Services, and/or the CDC determine that students should not wear gaiters to school as their face mask, we will certainly comply with that clear public health directive. (September 23rd, 2020)

LEGAL NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

LONDONDERRY SCHOOL DISTRICT

LEGAL NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

The Londonderry School District will conduct a public hearing on the act to use unassigned / unreserved surplus of funds [RSA 198:4-b] for the purpose to purchase COVID related equipment per RSA 32:11, Emergency Expenditures and Over Expenditures. The public hearing will take place at the Londonderry High School, 295 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, New Hampshire in the Cafeteria on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 7:00pm.  The public is invited to attend.

How will larger remote class sizes impact instruction?

When we responded to the parent requests for in person versus remote school, we tried to be as efficient as possible with remote staff so that we could have smaller class size for in person school. This will help increase the physical distance in our classrooms for students and staff. We currently have 11 teachers working with our remote students in grade 1 to 5. With this model, we currently do see larger class sizes in our remote school than we would normally have for in person school, and obviously also larger than the in person class sizes that we created this year for safe distancing.

In response to these class sizes, we will monitor closely students experiences during the first couple weeks of remote school, and work with those teachers to understand the effectiveness of this experience.

All remote teachers have guidelines for how they can and should use their time throughout each school day. We are not setting up the expectation that students should be on the computer screen from 8:42 am to 3:13 pm every day as being a student in remote school. We do not think this is an effective or healthy model for students to learn. Our remote staff will look at their lessons and goals for the day and decide how to use their time to deliver:

  • Live video lessons for the whole class (short duration)
  • Live small group video lessons
  • Taped Lessons.
  • Independent lessons.

Knowing the options in front of them and the class sizes for remote, teachers use of whole class video lessons will be effective for morning meetings and a few other short and quick lessons during the day. The rest of the time our remote teachers will most likely utilize live small group video lessons and record lessons that will help set up students for different tasks throughout the day. These approaches will allow our staff to better personalize the experience for each student and better meet their needs. Our remote staff will also be able to use office hours to answer specific questions that students will have as well.

We have already assigned some of our staff that normally run reading classes or other intervention services back into the classroom, both in person and remote. That said, there will continue to be academic support services available to students learning remotely. We understand that the class size for our remote elementary classes is not ideal, but we simply do not have enough staff to lower the class size and maintain all the services for the needs of our students. We believe that, by structuring classes carefully and maximizing the support that is available, our students will be successful learning remotely. Again, we will monitor how the first few weeks of school go for our remote staff and students and decide if we need to make further changes after that.

Family Letter for Students Returning to In the Building Learning

If you are choosing in person school this year, we need you to read through the following survey and the letter that is attached to it (Click here for Survey and Letter) . The letter goes through all the expectations that students will have in terms of following our public health guidelines and how parents will support them. We need all families to understand these expectations and acknowledge that you are agreeing to these expectations. We need all families to sign off on these expectations before students return to school next week on Tuesday September 8th 2020.

Thanks for your time and attention to this important matter.

Please Click Here.

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.