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Ashland Elementary School moving forward with basketball season


November 26, 2020
ASHLAND — At its Nov. 17 meeting, the Ashland School Board learned about the winter sports season, gave students a half day off before Thanksgiving, approved policies and heard about school activities.

Interim Principal Steve Guyer reported on the Covid-19 Committee, which includes the Police and Fire Chiefs as well as school staff. After much discussion, the Committee decided to recommend at least starting the regular basketball season with other middle schools in the area.

Games will be different this year. There will be no spectators. The away teams will travel in their uniforms and play will begin as soon as they arrive, so no one will be using another school's locker rooms. The Covid committee also made it clear to students and coaches that games can be cancelled if the other school is experiencing a Covid outbreak, and indeed that the whole season could end abruptly if the pandemic becomes a greater threat. The first scheduled games of the season on Dec. 3 will be cancelled or postponed because that date is too close to the Thanksgiving holiday, which could prove to be a super spreader event. The first basketball games for the Ashland teams will therefore be played on Dec. 15. The school did have a regular soccer season. But, the volleyball team was limited to playing against the faculty, because there were no nearby school teams to play against.

Associate Principal Kelly Avery explained her plans for winter recreation. Instead of traveling to Waterville Valley, where they could be exposed to people from Covid

hotspots, Ashland students will stay at home, skating on the Fire Department's rink, snowshoeing and sledding.

The school calendar originally had Tuesday, Nov. 24 as a half day for students before the Thanksgiving holiday. But, the School Board approved a request to give the students the full day off. Teachers will still have to work a half day, probably working on their grades and learning summaries, as that day marks the end of the school's first term.

The Board held the third and final reading and approved three amended policies on Board-Superintendent Duties, on Number of Board Members and on Resignation (of a School Board member). It was also noted that the Policy Review Committee had reviewed four other policies concerning the School Board, but found no reason to change them.

Principal Avery reported that enrollment had increased to 164 students. The modified Halloween parade, which was limited to the school grounds instead of the usual route through downtown, was a success, thanks to the donations of much candy by Ashland businesses. The National Junior Honor Society induction ceremony, which was scheduled for April, was finally held on Nov. 12, with Anna Boyer and Sam Liebert formally joining the Society. The virtual open house will be on the school Web site. Parent-teacher conferences will also be virtual this year. The Squam Lake Science Center has been making virtual presentations as well. Cares Act funding paid for 17 air

purifiers in the school. Avery named Office Manager Jacqui McGettigan and Technology Support Lester Brent as staff members of the month. Actually, the two Principals and Vice Chair Sandra Coleman all praised the staff for the great job they are doing in difficult times. Guyer called the staff "amazing", noting their can-do attitude and how well they worked together.

School Board member Leigh Sharps suggested that lights with timers be placed on the sign at the entrance to the school driveway to avoid accidents. The idea will be referred to the Facilities Committee. The School Board began its meeting with a non-public session on staff personnel, and ended it with a work session on the proposed budget for the 2021-2022 school year.

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