I hope that everyone has been enjoying the summer months and spending a lot of time relaxing and engaging in activities that bring you joy and happiness, even if it was only for a small period of time.
Our staff have been working hard throughout the summer to get our buildings ready for the opening of the new school year in just a couple of weeks. We have undertaken a number of facility projects that are nearing completion as well as ensuring that rooms, hallways, restrooms and furniture are ready for our students to return. While there is still work that needs to be done, we are confident that all of our buildings will be ready to receive students on September 1st.
We continue to monitor all of the guidance that has been issued for schools as it relates to COVID-19. There are numerous inputs on how things should or should not be handled in the various industries in our communities - retail, dining, healthcare, government, education and the list could go on. Everyone in these industries are making difficult decisions that impact their organizations with the most current guidance that is available. The same holds true for our schools.
As we have done throughout the pandemic, we receive and follow guidance from NHDHHS which has served our schools well.
There has been a level of concern voiced about the use of face coverings in schools being optional, recommended or required. With that, NHDHHS updated their guidance last week to include a decision matrix on face coverings (see School & Childcare Toolkit). In turn, we have updated our Opening Plan for all schools as well.
Effective Monday, August 23, 2021, face covering requirements will be guided by the following matrix released by NHDHHS.
Face Covering Decision Matrix
- This matrix will be used to determine face covering requirements while indoors at our schools.
- “Universal” means for everyone in the building.
- “Targeted” means for clusters within a building.
- Each Friday, an announcement will be made on masking requirements for the following week (M-F) while indoors based on the matrix.
- Face coverings are required when riding on school buses as mandated by US Federal Law.
- Masking will continue to be optional while outdoors at this time for those that wish to continue wearing a face mask.
- Mask breaks may occur indoors when staff can maintain controlled distancing between students.
This decision did not come lightly or easily, but it will provide an added layer of safety for our students and staff so that we are able to continue with five days of in-person teaching and learning. We will continue to follow the updated guidance from NHDHHS and amend our Opening Plan as needed. And as we prepare to open our doors in a couple of weeks, we will continue to communicate any additional information that may be helpful for all of our students, staff and families. In the meantime, it is my sincere hope that we are all able to enjoy the final days of summer and continue to...