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Three educational models presented at SAU 84 meeting

August 13, 2020
LITTLETON — On Aug. 3, the Littleton School District presented three different educational models for the upcoming school year. The meeting was held at the Littleton High School cafeteria and nearly 150 people attended through video conference.

The three options presented to teachers and parents included a traditional classroom setting, remote learning and a hybrid model. No decisions were made at the gathering, but it allowed the public to ask questions and offer feedback to the administration.

If chosen, the traditional option would require all students to attend school as they did before the pandemic. However, modifications would be made for students and staff with at-risk medical issues.

In the hybrid model, 50 percent of the students would attend school at a time with rotating schedules. Students would be expected to participate in remote learning when not in the classroom and at-risk students would be prioritized. The remote learning option would look very similar to what students experienced in the spring when the schools were closed.

One of the hybrid model's challenges is that the schedules would be different for elementary and high school students. At Lakeway, the students would have a split four-day schedule with half days for all students. Conversely, the high school schedule would include two full days a week in the classroom and two remote learning days.

All virtual participants were muted for the duration of the public hearing. However, parents and teachers were allowed to ask questions through a chat platform. Several participants voiced their concerns about the schedule discrepancy between the two schools.

Parents' primary concern was the impact a hybrid model would have on their families, particularly if they had children in both schools. Others raised questions about the transition times between morning and afternoon students, proper sanitization, testing requirements, and the schools' HVAC and air filtration systems' status.

"If the hybrid model is taken at Lakeway, how will classrooms be sanitized properly to ensure students entering in the afternoon will be safe given there will be a small window of time between transitions? Also, how would the school district choose who enters in the morning and then in the afternoon? It seems to me it would be very difficult for teachers, support staff and janitors to maintain the cleaning procedures required," stated one parent.

If SAU 84 opts for either the traditional or hybrid model, procedures will be implemented to screen all who enter the buildings. Additional procedures will be performed for suspected positive cases. Parents are expected to practice daily home screenings before sending their children to school.

Regardless of which model is chosen by the district, all schools will follow current NHIAA guidelines for co-curricular activities and decisions will be made locally. Non-athletic groups will operate on a case-by-case basis and meet online. All field trips and large group gatherings continue to be suspended.

Superintendent Hart said, "On July 13, we had nothing. No elements of this plan were put together. The administrative team did a phenomenal job in a short period, thinking about how we can move forward."

He indicated that personal protective equipment would be provided for all staff and upgrades had begun to both schools' ventilation systems.

Varney Smith
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