ConVal School Board votes to approve fall reopening plan 

  • A ConVal School District bus.  File photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/16/2021 10:44:36 AM

Similar to this year’s plan, the newly-approved plan includes various potential phases for the schools to operate under depending on rates of COVID-19 transmission, with the expectation for the district to open the school year in “Blue Phase,” indicating minimal or no community transmission. This change brings the district closer to “normal” practices, according to superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders.

This phase would allow for full in-person instruction with more minimal mitigation tactics, including a lack of segmented calendar with pre-planned remote periods and an expectation for sports and extra-curriculars to start up. Saunders said she feels that at the moment, is realistic to expect the district to open under “Blue Phase” conditions, given that 95% of the staff is now vaccinated, according to her.

The board accepted public comment on the reopening plan Tuesday night, in which some parents expressed discomfort with continuing to require masks for students. 

One parent, Christy Harris, stated that she had one child enrolled in the district and potentially two more in the fall, “depending on the masking situation.” She and the other parents asked the board why masks were still part of the plan when other places that children might go, such as businesses and bowling alleys, were no longer requiring masks.

“Why exactly are we continuing to put masks on children when we can’t mitigate what the rest of the state is doing?” Harris asked.

The board, while discussing approval of the reopening plan, brought up a similar issue. Rich Cahoon stated that before he voted to approve the plan, he wanted the board to commit to explaining COVID-19 related decisions and changes to parents and the district. 

“I think a little bit more explanation wouldn’t go amiss,” Cahoon said, especially when comparing ConVal to other surrounding districts.

Saunders noted that the plan does not specifically call for masks all the time, but rather that the district will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. 

When the board moved to approve the plan, they also voted to include a commitment to improve communications on decisions and changes to the plan throughout the school year.

The board also voted to approve the power purchasing agreement as presented to them for the solar energy project, moving forward with the project after many previous delays. The project was initially approved by district voters in 2020, and then delayed by the board’s decision to open the project to outside bidders. 


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