Letter from the Superintendent - March 25th, 2021

Letter from the Superintendent - March 25th, 2021
Posted on 03/25/2021
letter

Dear Chester Educational Community,

COVID rules and guidance for schools are evolving these days at a very quick pace. The Reopening Committee met on Wednesday evening, March 24th and developed recommendations for changes to the current plan. We are pleased to announce that the Chester School Board has adopted the recommended changes to the Reopening Plan, allowing us to move into the Adapted In Person (AIP) model beginning on Monday, March 29th. Students in grades 3 through 8 will now join their younger peers in attending school four days a week. Wednesdays will remain a remote day for all students (with the exception of preschool, who will continue with their current schedule) for the time being.

Several recent events contributed to the committee’s recommendations including: the recent staff vaccination clinic on March 14th; the updated travel and quarantining guidance from the NH Division of Public Health Services on March 17th; and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcement on Friday, March 19th, that it has updated school guidance to incorporate the latest science on safe school operations during COVID-19. Most notably, CDC updated its guidelines to revise the physical distancing recommendations to reflect at least 3 feet between students in classrooms (with universal mask use) and provide clearer guidance when a greater distance (such as 6 feet) is recommended. The CDC reemphasized in this guidance that correct and consistent use of masks is critical to reducing risk of transmission in schools, particularly in schools that use less than 6 feet between students in classrooms.

Based on the extent of the changes and the need to meet student and family needs, the Chester School Board met on March 25th, to hear and address the committee’s recommendations. The Board unanimously supports the Reopening Committee’s recommendation to eliminate the A/B In Person model from the plan and to expand the point range in the Model Determination table for the Adapted In Person model to ≤11. This allows us to move to the Adapted In Person model, and provides sufficient flexibility to navigate the variations of quarantine and isolation currently directed by the CDC and NHDHHS. Changes to the Reopening Plan in February resulted in the creation of the current daily schedule to allow for seamless transition between models. These schedule modifications allow for the rapid transition to occur on Monday, March 29th.

COVID-19 remains a challenge to our community. The Superintendent and School Administration will continue to use the guidelines provided regarding positive cases and identified close contacts on an individual, classroom and grade level basis. With the revised guidance, every effort will be made to avoid moving the entire school to remote whenever possible.

On Sunday, April 11th, the majority of our staff will be receiving their 2nd dose of the COVID vaccine. You should anticipate hearing more regarding how the school will handle classes on April 12th and 13th. Many staff members will likely be unable to work due to reactions to the second dose of the COVID vaccine they will receive on the 11th.

Additional opportunities to expand in person learning are being reviewed. We will keep you informed of any developments.

Sincerely,

Darrell J. Lockwood, Ed.D.

 

3.25.2021 Parent Letter change in reopening plan.pdf