We have received state approval to begin full in-person learning on May 3. This is very similar to our original plan, except with no built-in remote day for in-person students. I announced we received the waiver at Monday’s Board of School Committee meeting, just a few hours after receiving official word. I’m writing today to ensure you have the important details, and to reiterate our reasoning for the May 3 start date.
First, the important details:
All Manchester School District Schools will begin offering full in-person learning – five full days each week – beginning May 3.
For families who have chosen in-person learning, there are no built-in remote learning days.
As a reminder, families can choose to keep students remote for the remainder of the school year.
This year has been a great challenge for all of us, and I understand the frustration of families who are eager to get their students back in school full time. We want students back in school, but we have a responsibility to ensure that it is done safely.
Early this year, with new state guidance, we changed our re-entry plan to look at the impact of COVID-19 on a school-by-school basis. This allowed us to get students back into school in hybrid learning. Some schools, most notably Southside, have worked over the last few months to bring in more students for four days of in-person learning, as space allows with 6 feet of distance.
Then, last month, at the urging of the Board, we rolled out our plan to expand in-person learning starting May 3. To do that, we needed to reduce the mandate of 6 feet of physical distance to a range of 3 to 6 feet. Our plan specified May 3 because that built-in time for staff to be fully vaccinated, which you are considered two weeks after your second shot.
We have a significant number of staff under federal ADA plans that specify they can return to work May 3. We cannot safely staff all of our buildings until this happens. This is the case we made in seeking a waiver from the state, and we are pleased that Gov. Sununu agreed. The added benefit of this one-week waiver is that it allows many more of our staff to reach full immunity.
Getting our students back fully in person is the right thing to do and I’m confident this is the right way to do it. I thank you for your patience and support of your students, and I look forward to May 3.
Dr. John Goldhardt,
Superintendent of Schools
Manchester School District