Letter from the Superintendent - April 4, 2021

Letter from the Superintendent - April 4, 2021
Posted on 04/02/2021
Letter ImageDear Chester Educational Community,

We have had a good first week implementing the Adapted In Person model. There have been a lot of smiling faces under our masks. To say that we have struggled a bit with the parent drop off and pick up would probably be an understatement. It would be very helpful if parents would make sure they have updated PickUp Patrol with the accurate dismissal plan for the day and display their child’s name card on the vehicle dashboard with the last name clearly printed and visible. If your name card has been misplaced, you can type up your own or let our office staff know and we can print one for you. In the morning, students should have their mask on as they arrive and be ready to get out of the vehicle as soon as they have permission. That said, all in all it has been a great week.

The vast majority of our students have returned to in-class learning. At this juncture we have only 29 youngsters in telepresence learning from home. We anticipate that this number will continue to decrease moving forward. We are in the process of contacting parents of these students to develop definitive plans.

We will be continuing in the Adapted In Person model next week. For those of you interested in knowing how we determine that, here are the details. The current point range in our Model Determination Table is a 7. (A number of ≤11 keeps us in the Adapted In Person model.) That number, derived from our Risk Assessment Rubric breaks down as follows:

Status as of March 12, 2021

Rubric Score

NH DHHS County cases per 100,000 persons: 426.1


NH DHHS Rockingham County Antigen & PCR Test Positivity rate: 7.4%


Transmission of COVID within the school community: Zero or sporadic cases, no evidence of transmission within the school setting


Chester Academy student absentee rate: Less than 15%


Chester Academy staff capacity and school operations: inadequate staffing for 5 out of the last 6 in-person days


Total Score:


You can find more details with regard to the Table and Rubric in our Reopening Plan. That plan can be accessed HERE.

As mentioned in a previous notification, we are adjusting our school schedule on April 12th and 13th. On April 11th, 70 staff members will be receiving their second Moderna vaccine dose through an Educator Vaccination Clinic at Pinkerton Academy. Given that many recipients have side effects one or two days after this second shot, Chester Academy will have a Remote Learning Day on April 12th. Any teachers who are not experiencing side effects or did not participate in the vaccination clinic will teach synchronously with their students. Those teachers who are unable to teach due to a vaccine reaction will post assignments in their Google Classroom for students to complete independently during the day.

On April 13th, we anticipate that some staff members may still be experiencing negative effects from their second shot. Given the shortage of subs, Chester Academy will swap the schedules for Tuesday, April 13, and Wednesday, April 14. Tuesday will become the Variable Learning Day with students working at home and attending Mini Meets, Mini Courses and working independently. If necessary, teachers will cancel their Mini Meets or Courses if they are not feeling well enough to participate. On Wednesday, students will attend school in person like a typical day. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

A huge thank you to the South Central New Hampshire Public Health Network and Pinkerton Academy for organizing this opportunity. We also want to acknowledge the work of volunteers (many from our staff) who have worked to make these clinics a success.

As was mentioned in our letter on March 25th, we have been reviewing our Reopening Plan in an effort to make further recommendations to the Chester School Board for adjustments that allow more in person learning time. We are extremely pleased to inform you that we have been working on a five day in person schedule for all youngsters. We plan to bring this proposal to the Chester School Board on Wednesday, April 7th at their regularly scheduled meeting. We will provide you with details as soon as we receive approval. Our plan is similar to both Pinkerton Academy and the Derry Cooperative Schools.

You may find it interesting to know that we learned of the Governor’s new Emergency Order requiring five day in person offerings just as you did, either by word of mouth, or through the media. As of this writing, the Emergency Order has not yet been published on the Governor’s official webpage, and we have heard nothing from the Governor or the Commissioner of Education with any guidance regarding this mandate. However, our Plan was built to be flexible and we will address the mandate once we have an opportunity to review its components and as directed by the Chester School Board.

We are thankful for our many blessings and the cooperation that members of our educational community continue to practice. Whether you are celebrating Passover or Easter, we wish you peace and joy. Have a wonderful weekend!


Darrell J. Lockwood, Ed.D., Superintendent

Karen Lacroix, Principal