Back to School

Fall 2020

From the Superintendent

Kathleen A. Murphy
Interim Superintendent

October 23, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on several recent developments that may impact your family and your child’s education. The hybrid model has been in place for several weeks, and we continue to make adjustments to meet the needs of our students and families.

First, let me share with you how much your patience and support has meant to the staff in the schools. We may not have had a perfect delivery of the hybrid model, but your patience and the grace you afforded to us have given us the time to address any lingering issues and concerns you may have.

Data associated with moving to a remote model for student learning

Every day, our leadership team reviews Covid-19 case data, looking at cases in schools, levels of community transition, where outbreaks are occurring, and more. There is not one number that will tell us what model of instruction to employ, but there is one standard we will follow: we will communicate with you in a timely manner as best we can when faced with a rapidly evolving pandemic.

Recently, the number of positive cases in Merrimack County has risen to the level of “Substantial,” causing much concern as it relates to our students remaining in a hybrid model rather than pivoting to a remote model. In review of the data, two factors have impacted the decision to remain in a hybrid model.

  1. The number of positive cases has been impacted by an outbreak in a long-term care facility in the county.

  2. Given the three positive cases overall in the District (only one still in quarantine), our schools have not yet experienced any transmission of the virus to those who may have come in close contact with these individuals.

Please understand that this can change at any moment, and I will provide you with as much advance notice as possible should we decide to shift to a fully-remote model.

Notification process

Let me take a minute to review the process in place when a positive Covid-19 case has been identified in our schools. Once we receive this information from either parents, staff or the NH Department of Health and Services (DHHS), the school nurse and the administrative team gather the names of those students and staff who may have had contact with the person with a positive Covid-19 test. Once that information is complete, school officials call and relate the information to the DHHS. School officials will also alert families and staff that they may be a close contact* and may be contacted by DHHS.

*A person is considered a “close contact” to a person with Covid-19 if they were within 6 feet of the infected person for at least 10 minutes or longer. The 10 minutes of contact can be at one time or cumulative over the course of the day. The timeframe for having contact with an individual includes the period of time 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.

Once DHHS has the close contact information, they are then responsible for contacting those students’ families (and/or staff) and providing the course of action, including recommendations about quarantining for 14 days. If a student is required to quarantine, the school will reach out and advise the parent and student about accessing their classes remotely.

Reminders

You and your family can continue to help limit community spread with mask wearing, maintaining distancing, frequent hand washing, and staying home when you are ill.

  • If your child is not feeling well, please keep them home, and if the symptoms are Covid-19-related, contact your family doctor for advice.

  • If your child travels outside of the New England states, they must remain home for a period of 14 days before being allowed to return to school.

  • Do not hesitate to reach out to the School Principal if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s schedule, or to me with concerns and feedback.

Thank you again for your assistance with your children’s learning during this most difficult time for them.

Best regards,

Kathleen Murphy
Interim Superintendent