Our SAU 70 School Task Force includes more than 30 representatives from multiple employee groups as well as medical experts, public health officials, and school board liaisons. My sincere thanks to our Task Force members for their ongoing contributions to this enormous undertaking.
Many of our team members share a personal stake in this important work as parents of students in our schools. In the plan that follows, you will find our attempt to resume public education in a way that considers our local context with regard to the pandemic, establishes protocols for managing health and safety risks for staff and students, and provides flexibility in the event that COVID-19 cases increase in our region.
In the initial stages of the “back-to-school” planning process, we identified the principles that would drive our decision-making and the key features we planned to incorporate in the SAU-70 District’s Return to School Plan. At the top of the list of priorities that informed our planning and thinking was health, safety, and our school community’s well-being.
While currently recommending an in-person return to school in September, the Task Force has brought together planning committees to prepare for each of the three possible educational plans for the 2020-2021 school year. In concert with Task Force workgroups, individual school committees will address specific logistics of School Operations, Health Management, Whole Child Supports, School Personnel, Teaching and Learning, Transportation, and Technology.
The reopening task force studied a wealth of relevant data and the school reopening plans of like communities, paying particular attention to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), NH and VT state guidance documents, and local health officials. From the beginning, the Task Force has worked diligently to balance the district’s commitment to providing an excellent and equitable education to all our students. We must do so with student, employee, and community health and safety as an overarching priority.
This plan is based on our region’s current health situation concerning the low prevalence of COVID-19 cases and will change based on the local progression of the pandemic. We will continue to keep the health, safety, and education of our students, staff, and community at the forefront of all decisions.
Each school's custodial team will implement a cleaning and sanitizing plan for day and night crews accordingly based on educational models being followed (cohorting vs. increased student movement). We are planning to adjust custodial staff time to include more “disinfectant crews” that can be made available during the day. These crews will prioritize cleaning and disinfecting (where appropriate) centrally located, high traffic flat surfaces and touch points (doorknobs, handrails). Bathrooms will also receive frequently scheduled disinfecting cleanings throughout the day.
Additional cleaning supplies will be made available in the classrooms so desk areas may be cleaned before and after any food consumption. Night crews will prioritize cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms, offices, halls and floors. Second shift custodians will use electrostatic sprayers to disinfect classrooms and other large areas.
Based upon the work of SAU 70’s Reopening Task Force, the associated School Districts of Hanover, Norwich and Dresden propose reopening schools based on a Phase 3 protocol: In-Person with Safety Requirementsin the fall of 2020 . While confident that this recommendation is based on the best data and scientific evidence, the SAU will offer remote learning opportunities for students who choose not to return to in-person classes.
In anticipation of changes in the progression of coronavirus infection, the Task Force prepared three distinct learning models, each linked to medical situations within our community. The outlines of the phases, and the corresponding educational plans, are below. Again, the current medical environment calls for a Phase 3: In-Person with Safety Requirements return to school.