Planning for the 2020-2021 Academic Year

Planning for the 2020-2021 Academic Year
Posted on 07/10/2020
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The Superintendent and the Board are committed to developing a plan for the 2020 – 2021 academic year, based on sound guidance from the State, practical experience and feedback from the C-A community. ~ This plan for Chester will provide effective education for our students while also ensuring the safety of our students, staff and our community: those are our paramount concerns in developing our plan.

When developing any plan or strategy, there are knowns and there are unknowns that will need to be considered and taken into account. And, of course, as unknowns become knowns, the plan ~ and the implementation of the plan ~ will have to be adjusted accordingly.

At this point, there are many unknowns that will have to be taken into consideration when developing the plan for next year. Each of those will have to be considered as well as evaluated to determine the level of risk and the necessary preventive actions or corrective actions that can be taken.

Every facet of our plan for reopening will focus on the safety of our students, staff and our community. ~ That said, it is not realistic to assume that any plan will allow Chester Academy or the greater community to remain completely free of Covid-19 during the coming academic year. For that reason, we now that we must develop a strategy and a plan that will both afford the utmost protection while also developing a contingency for that possible eventuality.

In order for the reopening of Chester Academy to be successful, we will need the cooperation and support of the Chester Academy families.

Our C-A families will play a critical role in supporting the new culture of health and safety that the school must establish. Most importantly, families can help mitigate the transmission of COVID19 in their school communities by checking their children daily for any COVID-19 symptoms and keeping them home from school if they are sick or have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

Families can also contribute by supporting the use of masks in school and on the bus, arranging alternate transportation whenever possible, communicating with teachers, school leaders and local authorities, and continuing to follow state guidance on health and safety outside of school.

In June, the Chester School District sent out a preliminary survey to our C-A families regarding the coming school year. While we realize that there are many open issues and important questions still to be answered, this survey provided us with a very helpful baseline “pulse” of the community. ~ Please be sure to respond to any communication or surveys from the Chester School District throughout the summer: we really need your partnership ~ and feedback ~ to develop the best possible plan for the coming year and to make it work.

And, if you have questions, please feel free to reach out to the Superintendent, the Principal or the Chester School Board.

So, what About Re-Opening? ~ Our Superintendent, Dr. Darrell Lockwood, has formed a School
Reopening Group to develop detailed plans for the 2020 – 2021 academic year. This group is composed of Chester Academy Administrators; instructional staff and support staff members; parents; and School Board members.

The group had their initial meeting on June 24th and will be meeting weekly throughout the summer.

There are also five separate Working Groups meeting on a regular basis that have been created to address specific areas of concern:
- Transportation – Addressing buses and cars – Arrival and Dismissal;
- Facilities – Addressing cleaning, room usage, PPE, and entry/exit screening process
- Special Services and Health – Addressing students and staff with special needs and/or Health
issues plus entry/exit screening process;
- Curriculum and Instruction – Addressing student groupings, assignments of staff, modifications to school day, onsite/hybrid/remote, contractual impacts of decisions;

The Superintendent and the Administration continue to analyze the detailed information from the joint Parent Survey sent out on June 22nd. ~ This preliminary information will be very helpful in developing our plans for reopening Chester Academy and we appreciate your participation and feedback.

The Board and the Superintendent will continue to closely follow the efforts of the NH DOE School Transition Reopening and Redesign Taskforce (STRRT) and their recommendations for reopening school in NH. ~ The Commissioner delivered the Taskforce’s completed recommendations to Governor Sununu on June 30th.

The Commissioner of Education, Mr. Frank Edelblut, has indicated that the NH DOE will continue to work on their recommendations in order to provide “context” and “granularity” throughout the coming months.

The Chester School District’s School Reopening Group has reviewed the current Taskforce recommendations and will consider their findings when developing our detailed reopening plan for Chester Academy.

As noted by the Commissioner, many of the detailed decisions will be left to the local education authority as they are best suited to make decisions for their students and their community.