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School Board targets date for return to in-person learning

February 24, 2021
WOLFEBORO — The Governor Wentworth Regional School District set March 22 as a target date for reopening the schools to full-time during its meeting of Feb. 8. The board plans to assess the Covid-19 trends and the guidelines coming from the Center for Disease Control when it meets again on March 8, in the Kingswood Arts Center at 7 p.m., and make a final decision at that time.

Chairman Jack Widmer made it clear that the remote option will remain in place until the end of the year even if students return full-time. Though teachers in New Hampshire are not in the state's vaccination plans until May or June, the hope is that there will be more vaccinations within the community by then. The weather will also gradually become more conducive to being outside.

Member at large Wendi Fenderson asked if there would be enough staff for the change and if six-foot distancing would be possible. Superintendent Kathy Cuddy-Egbert responded that about 20 percent of the school population is engaged in remote learning and if everyone is healthy and not in quarantine, they can manage. Six-foot distancing would have to be reduced to three, four or five feet. Mitigation would need to include more personal protective equipment.

Wolfeboro board member Charlene Seibel said she felt the target date was reasonable as long as the "numbers are still going in right direction," but she expressed concern about staff members with co-morbidities. The board agreed with her suggestion that a letter be sent to Governor Sununu requesting that teachers be included in the essential workers category. Widmer mentioned that the NH School Boards Association has done that.

In other business, Cuddy-Egbert informed the board that planning is underway for summer programs. Emergency relief funds will be needed to operate what is intended to be "robust" instructional opportunities to compensate for any gaps resulting from the Covid-19 scheduling. She also reported that the drug and alcohol surveys (visit Web site) showed an improvement over the last few years. Seibel commented that though students seem to be heading in the right direction with drug use, sexual and dating violence numbers were not heading the right direction. She pointed out that there is "a disparity in who admits to being a perpetrator."

Funding of the Girls' Hockey Team was approved at 40 percent, as requested by Athletic Director Aaron House.

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