Dear Hooksett Families and Staff:
Last evening, the Hooksett School Board approved a change to the 2020-21 school calendar. The change will entail a shift from the current in-person and remote learning to a remote learning model for all students. This change will be in effect from November 30, 2020 through January 15, 2021. Building principals will be sending out additional information regarding student expectations during this time period. The Board based their decision on several factors which included:
- Our schools are currently maximizing staff usage in order to provide both in-person and distance learning instruction for our students. A shortage of substitutes or other in-house coverage options will make it difficult to continue to operate in-person in the event of a wider outbreak.
- The level of community transfer in Merrimack County has substantially increased over the past month and unfortunately this trend is projected to continue. This increase poses an increased health risk and a significant challenge for the district to maintain its current instructional models with an increase in student and staff absences.
- With the holiday season quickly approaching, many of our families and staff members will be traveling outside of New England, which means they will need to quarantine for a period of 14 days per the Department of Health and Human Service guidelines. This will negatively impact both our ability to provide adequate staffing levels at our three schools as well student attendance.
The members of the Hooksett School Board and I understand that many would rather not enter remote instruction at all. We realize the strain this will place on families to provide daycare for their children. However, for the reasons stated above, the shift to remote learning will provide for a more stable learning environment for our students and staff during this time.
The district has updated its remote instruction protocols. Parents and students can expect a remote school day that begins and ends at a similar time as the normal school day. Depending on grade level, students will be provided live whole class lessons, live small group instruction, recorded lessons, and live office hours to ensure they are engaging with their teachers daily. Each school will follow up with more details on how parents and students can best adapt to remote instruction for this period of time.
To the greatest degree possible, we will provide special education support, as well as meal service and counseling services. Further details regarding these programs will be disseminated this week. It is our intention to resume the current model of schooling on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. This allows for full quarantine periods after both holiday breaks, and should allow us to resume normal operations.
William J. Rearick