Dear SAU School Community,
I hope you all had a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather this past Memorial Day weekend! While we are still waiting for state-level guidance regarding the 20-21 school year, both Vermont and New Hampshire continue to slowly emerge from the constraints of stay at home orders. In the near term, we are working through the guidance about summer programs and camps that both states have released, and are eagerly awaiting the recommendations of the NH DOE’s School Transition Reopening and Redesign Taskforce (STRRT). Many of you may have already taken part in their survey effort, but if not, I’ve included the link below. Your opinions about the coming school year will help shape their recommendations, so please take advantage of this opportunity to weigh in!
At this week’s Dresden School Board meeting, I alerted the board to an error that we made in calculating the hours of instruction that I included in my last update, and in our waiver application to the NH DOE. Rather than having accrued more than the requisite number of instructional hours by June 5,th we will fall short at both the Ray School and RMS. We will be maintaining June 5th as our last day of regular instruction, but will be working with our principals to make additional instructional opportunities available at all of our schools for those families who wish to take advantage of them. I have informed the NH DOE of the error and would like to thank the vigilant community member who brought the miscalculation to my attention and apologize for the mistake. As I explained before, we face an enormous, multifaceted planning challenge to prepare for this summer and next school year. I am hopeful that we will be able to complete a significant portion of that work with our teachers between June 5th and the 19th, but know that even those two weeks will not be enough time.
As the end of our school year approaches, our school communities are working to provide some alternative end-of-year celebrations. I know that those who are engaged in these efforts are doing so with safety as their first consideration, but for most of our children, remote schooling has meant separation from friends, teachers, and familiar routines. We hope to restore a little bit of the joy of school through these alternative activities and hope that you will both participate and help us do so safely. The beautiful May weather may tempt us to lower our guard, but maintaining appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures will be necessary as our states begin to ease restrictions.
Finally, like many of you, I am frustrated by the uncertainty we face, not just with education, but with everything. I am tired of having to answer almost every one of the myriad questions I’m asked with “we’re waiting for guidance,” or “ it depends,” or “we’ll just have to plan for each possibility.” Although I’m frustrated, I’m also determined and hopeful because we are a caring and supportive community. We will learn important lessons from this disaster and be stronger together for having helped each other through it.
I will share any important news with you as we learn more from our state leadership.