Derry School Board Approves 2021-22 Draft Reopening Plan

By Alex Malm

DERRY – During the June 22 Derry School Board meeting the board discussed the newest version of the school district’s safe reopening plan.
It was explained by Derry School District Superintendent MaryAnn Connors-Krikroian that since the last school board meeting guidance has changed from the state, which now doesn’t require masks to be worn in schools.
She said that they received the notification in time to change it in the draft of the plan that was presented to the school board during the meeting. Those who are immune compromised or want to continue to wear a mask in the schools are allowed to continue to do so.
Because guidance is always changing it means that their plan rapidly changes as well.
“Our plan is a fluid document,” she said.
At the June 22 meeting the board was required to vote on their draft version of the plan, because the state required that it be turned in the next day. The state will then review it and the district will make any changes necessary before the school board votes on the final draft of the plan in August.
They would’ve created a reopening plan at some point anyways, according to Connors-Krikroian but because of the regulations by the state they moved up the timeline.
As part of the school reopening plan she explained that school districts are required to reach out to stakeholders to get their input on the plan.
She felt like they did a good job with that.
“I believe we’ve done that and done that well,” she said.
They did so by conducting surveys for people in the community to fill out.
It was explained by Derry School District Assistant Superintendent Austin Garofalo that their main goal is to return to normal in a safe way.
“We can’t emphasize enough how much everyone in the Derry Cooperative School District wants to return to the pre-pandemic in school experience for students, staff, and families,” he said.
Derry School Board member Jonathan Dugan said that he appreciates the work that has gone into making the plan.
“As a father of a student I appreciate all the hard work that the school administration has done and the teachers have done all this year,” he said.
Derry School Board Vice Chair Derick Anderson also agreed.
“I think this is a good plan and it’s time to move forward,” he said.
The board approved the draft reopening plan.
In personnel news the school board accepted the resignation of Chantelle Boyle, the district’s treasurer.
They also approved the hiring of James Bucciero, a music teacher at Grinnell Elementary School, and Allison Pongrace, a special education teacher at Derry Village Elementary School.
Also in personnel news, Connors-Krikroian asked for permission to hire staff during the summer months on an ongoing basis. She explained that summer is a difficult season for hiring people and that every summer it’s standard for the superintendent to ask to be able to hire on an ongoing basis so they don’t have to wait until the next school board meeting for final approval.
“It’s something that comes up every year and is important to keep the district running,”Erika Cohen, the chair of the school board.
The rest of the board agreed that it was needed and approved the request unanimously.
The next Derry School Board meeting is slated for July 13.