MANCHESTER, N.H. – Days after the Board of Aldermen undertook their first entirely remote meeting during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the Board of School Committee (BOSC) followed suit to review recent efforts to continue the education of Manchester’s public-school students during in the age of social distancing.
The BOSC members largely praised Manchester School District Superintendent John Goldhardt, Mayor Joyce Craig and the employees of the Manchester School District as a whole during the transition, as students have found their assignments and even food sent to their homes by bus, with students without electronic devices receiving Chromebooks for remote lessons.
A standardized plan for remote lessons is still being processed, with some teachers beginning to post YouTube lesson videos onto school websites and talks underway with Manchester Public Television to make other videos for students.
At-Large BOSC Member Jim O’Connell also praised efforts by the district, but voiced concerns regarding some teachers still inside schools as well as concerns over a lack of gloves used by individuals in contact with food on the busses.
Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Gillis challenged the claims regarding the food on busses, stating that School Resource Officers had proactively stepped in when individuals were within six feet of each other during efforts relating to materials on busses.
She also noted that the large number of volunteers that helped with initial efforts relating to the busses would be reduced in upcoming days to limit the number of contact points for coronavirus spread.
Goldhardt also responded that no personnel other than principals, the assistant superintendents and himself were required to be onsite at any school, but teachers were allowed to come into the schools to obtain materials if needed.
The BOSC also unanimously approved covering the costs of COVID-19 testing for district employees, waiving requirements for doctor’s notes for students and employees absent for more than three days and joining the ConVal School District with an amicus brief on their lawsuit against the state regarding school funding.