By Alex Malm
DERRY – For the past year and a half school districts across the Granite State and country have balanced the health and safety of its students, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic while also making sure students get the best education possible.
While COVID-19 cases are decreasing and more and more people are becoming vaccinated, the pandemic hasn’t totally ended yet.
That’s why school districts across New Hampshire are working on finalizing their reopening plans for the 2021-22 school year.
During the June 8 Derry School Board meeting their reopening plans were discussed.
Derry Superintendent MaryAnn Connors-Krikorian explained during the meeting that they were only discussing some of the possibilities and they were still working on the draft of the plan.
“This is just the vision of what we have for our reopening plan. This isn’t by any means finished,” she said.
As of now, it was announced that the plan is to have a mask requirement anytime six feet of social distance can’t be maintained. When outdoors, masks will be optional.
One question that was brought up by the board was what happens if the plan is approved and then guidance from the state changes.
Derry Assistant Superintendent Austin Garofalo said that as guidance changes so will the plan.
“This is a live document that we will keep updating,” Garofalo said.
It was also announced that facilities will be open to outside groups.
“We believe this is a very positive step for our schools and our community,” Garofalo said.
As they continue to create the final draft of the reopening plan, Connors-Krikorian said they will continue to keep the safety of its students in mind.
“Health and safety continues to be an ongoing priority,” she said.
While all of the school facilities will be open for learning, Connors-Krikorian said that medically compromised students will be able to receive accommodations through the 504 or IEP plan processes.
Connors-Krikorian said that the draft plan is up online and the public will have a limited amount of time to give feedback about the plan because they need to have enough time to synthesize the results before the board takes a vote on the final plan.
During the June 22 school board meeting the school board is expected to take a vote on the final draft of the plan and then will submit it to the New Hampshire Department of Education.
In personnel news the school board accepted resignations of two different teachers. They included Holly Webster, a music teacher at Grinnell Elementary School, and Isis Santiago, a special education teacher at East Derry Memorial Elementary School.
The school board also approved it’s summer board meeting schedule. Those meetings are slated for July 13, Aug. 17, and Aug. 31. The meetings will take place at 6:30 p.m.