Dear SAU 70 School Community,
This has been a very busy week for our School Start Task Force as we work to have a draft plan ready for your review on Wednesday, August 5. Our team is divided into several workgroups focusing on teaching and learning, health management and safety, operations, facilities, whole child supports, transportation, technology, and communication. Some of those workgroups will be able to provide comprehensive plans, others will submit works in progress, depending on the data available.
Following the release of our draft, we will hold a town hall-style Zoom meeting on Thursday, August 6th at 6:30 PM to gain your feedback and answer as many questions as we can. Also on August 6th, we will be holding meetings with all of our staff to accomplish the same ends: provide information, answer questions, and hear concerns. We will have a panel of task force members, including administrators, school nurses, teacher leaders, and medical experts available in order to answer questions and to illuminate the reasoning behind the recommendations.
This is a difficult time. We are all anxious – pleased by the low prevalence of COVID-19 in our region, but worried that the resurgence of the disease in other regions of our country will find its way to the Upper Valley. In all of our planning, contingencies for responding to a new outbreak are prominent. We truly appreciate your responses to our recent family survey as well as the many thoughtful emails you’ve sent with suggestions and concerns. All of that feedback will help us create a better plan for balancing our students’ and our community’s safety and educational needs.
Finally, some messaging last week may have given the impression that our teachers' interests have been neglected in the planning process. I assure you that this is not the case, as we have been collaborating with our Hanover and Norwich Education Association leaders since early May in anticipation of the 2020-21 school year. Their partnership has been essential, their work on the Task Force invaluable, and I am including a clarifying statement that they have shared below.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend,
July 31, 2020
Dear SAU 70 Community
Over the past few years, SAU 70 has seen a lot of change, particularly since March. The Hanover and Norwich Education Associations have appreciated the commitment to a collaborative working partnership. It is with this in mind that we wanted to take a moment to speak to the role that the Hanover and Norwich Education Associations have played in the SAU 70 Reopening Plans. Both of us, Liz Murray and Ania White, Presidents of the Hanover and Norwich EAs respectively, have been part of the SAU 70 Task Force since the middle of June. Our job has been to represent teachers in terms of safety, working conditions, and contractual matters that may arise as a result of Covid-19 response.
Both the Superintendent, Jay Badams, along with the building administrators, Shawn Gonyaw, Lauren Amrhein, Tim Boyle, and Jim Logan, respected our staff request for limited communication in July. In the last week, each building has established an internal Task Force that includes teaching staff to plan the day to day operation of buildings, changes to instruction and learning, and phases of reopening schools.
Moving forward, it is important to recognize that each of us has our own feelings, often fears, regarding reopening - for ourselves, for our students, for our families, for our community. This will ebb and flow as the days progress in this unprecedented time. What will not change is the commitment of Norwich and Hanover educators to the SAU 70 students, staff, and community.
Liz Murray, HEA President
Ania White, NEA Co-President