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WLC offers flexible class options, mandates masks

  • Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Middle/High School Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/30/2020 3:53:18 PM

Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative is moving forward with its plan to reopen for in-person instruction full time, but the School Board left several options available for parents who aren’t ready to send their kids back to school.

During an emergency School Board meeting on Tuesday, the board officially voted to allow students back into the school buildings for five days of in-person instruction. However, there is also an option for full-time remote learning, and for a flexible individual model for students that want to remote learn the majority of the time, but attend in-person for specific classes, such as ones they struggle with, advanced placement classes, or classes such as art, music and physical education. 

Students who are remote learning will be given a specific schedule they must adhere to it as if they were in the school building. 

If students opt for a hybrid remote and in-person instruction, their schedule must be approved by the district administration, be consistent, and families must commit to the schedule for at least a quarter. If families start with one model and wish to switch to another, they must inform the district with two weeks notice. 

The third option was a compromise reached by the board after hearing a presentation from district teachers, which proposed a hybrid model with only half of the students attending in-person on Monday and Tuesday, and the other half Thursday and Friday, with remote learning on the days they are not attending in person.

One of the issues raised by teachers who proposed the hybrid model was being able to increase social distancing with smaller classes. The eighth grade, which is the district’s largest class, was of the most concern.

The board initially considered a motion to return to school for five days of in-person instruction, with a full-time remote option, but ultimately didn’t feel it gave parents enough options, ultimately failing in a 5-3 vote. A similar motion that added the flexible scheduling option passed 6-2.

The issue of mask-wearing was contentious among the board, who eventually voted 4-3 in favor of a plan to require students and staff wear cloth masks or a face shield while in school, with several breaks scheduled throughout the day for students to take them off.

Board members were split on the issue.

“That seems a little much,” said School Board member Charlie Post, of requiring children to wear masks all day. “I think it’s untenable for small children.”

School Board member Brianne Lavallee said that with breaks, the plan is “very feasible.”

“Providing that layer of protection is not too much to ask,” Lavallee said. 

The board also took up the issue of the fall sports season, after hearing both written and in-person comments from parents and students requesting that the district carry forward with sports, or at least allow practices for now in preparation for the season.

The board agreed 7-1 to hold fall sports, and to follow the guidelines set out by the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association for athletes, which are expected to be released later this week.

Teacher’s Association weighs in

The board has received a letter from the WLC Teacher’s Association, which was not discussed in-depth on Tuesday night, but is expected to be taken up in a non-public session during the board’s next scheduled meeting.

The letter, written by WLCTA President JoAnne Dufour, outlined negotiation points over working conditions.

The negotiation points included procedure for entering the buildings, class size, set up and use of masks, cleaning procedures, the ability to work from home, leave without use of sick time, and other issues.

“In light of these concerns on the above subject matter, the Association respectfully demands to bargain the impact of these issues on the [Collective Bargaining Agreement] and the terms and conditions of employment on the bargaining unit. The Association proposes that these negotiations commence within 14 days of the date of this letter,” Dufour’s letter reads.


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