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Monroe School District rolls out reopening plan

August 13, 2020
MONROE — District Administrator Leah Holz recently reached out to families of Monroe Consolidated School students, thanking them for their patience and support.

In a letter to families, she wrote, "I know it's been a terribly long waiting game wondering what will happen with our school reopening plan."

Holz said the plan took several weeks, but is pleased with the final outcome. According to Holz, the plan is not etched in stone given ever changing circumstances.

"To say this document is subject to change is an understatement," she said. "As federal and state guidelines change, our plan will have to be adapted. The committee and Board will continue to meet regularly."

School will reopen in person on Sept. 1 for all grades Pre-K through eighth grade. If any parent has chosen to keep their student home, they are to reach out to the school to request a homeschool form.

Holz explained, "As a very small school, we do not have the capacity to teach both in person and remotely at the same time. Those families choosing to homeschool will have access to VLACS for their online learning."

There will be an option to remain enrolled as an MCS student while accessing Special Education services with a homeschool curriculum, or according to Holz, un-enroll completely and waive those services.

Parents will need to make a decision regarding school by Aug. 14.

"When parents are making their decision, we highly encourage that it will be for the whole trimester. For parents that decide on the in person return on Sept. 1, we are not guaranteeing the COVID-19 landscape will allow us to remain open over the entire year. We are planning for periods when all students are in Remote Instruction as well," said Holz.

Masks will be required in all common areas and any other time social distancing is not possible. Parents will be taking their children's temperatures and looking for symptoms each day, prior to their arrival at school. Staff will also complete self checks daily. Thermometers will be available to those in need, by simply contacting the school.

All Covid-19 symptoms will require exclusion from school for both faculty and students.

"There may come a time that we have a majority of staff and/or students in quarantine due to symptoms or travel. We will evaluate these times on a case-by-case basis and will close school and pivot to remote learning if necessary," said Holz.

As far as learning, Holz explained how this will look, noting "The State of New Hampshire has partnered with the state's university system to roll out Canvas, an online learning platform that will house systems such as Google Classroom. All teachers will be trained in Canvas, and training for students and parents will be provided as well."

She added, "This will allow classroom assignments to be posted on Canvas ahead of time, so that students can access their work in the case of a quarantine period or a sudden shift to remote learning again."

Holz thanked Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs for their support building plexiglass dividers and purchasing several foggers.

School hours will occur between 7:50 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Holz said, "As with every piece of this plan, this will be evaluated as needed. This dismissal time will allow for a school wide planning time as well as extra time to disinfect surfaces and air out the building. We are working closely with JPI to formulate our transportation plan, which we will roll out to you as soon as possible."

Varney Smith
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