Schools Draft Fall Plans

In June, I read one of the most encouraging reports about a safe return to campus since the start of the pandemic. It described how daycare programs that stayed open for essential workers have successfully avoided outbreaks. However, the measures needed for success; such as keeping children in “pods” of 8, and isolating pods from each other; seem difficult to translate to older grades.

NH prepares for fall

Now in mid-summer, some schools and colleges have announced their plans for fall, but many are working through different possibilities. The NH School Reopening Task Force sent their final recommendations to Governor Sununu July 1. The group said schools should prepare for multiple scenarios from modified in-person instruction to remote learning, but left decisions, such as whether or not to reopen, up to each district. Health screenings and the use of PPE will also be up to schools.

Each NH school may look different this fall, and within one family, students may have some different experiences. My immediate family represents four schools: private daycare, public kindergarten, and the high school and community college where my husband and I work. Three of the four schools have yet to announce plans, but we’re anticipating a mix of in-person and remote learning. The community college is preparing for in-person and online instruction this fall, similar to what’s in place this summer.

Summer semester

Thankfully, summer has had moments of calm following a turbulent spring. I’ve had the chance to sit at my desk again on and off this June and July. It’s also been an example of a successful mix of online and in-person instruction. At the NH community colleges, students and college employees wear masks, follow health screening practices, keep our distance, and avoid gathering in common areas. Some labs reopened for students in June, and a round of 6-week hybrid courses began July 6 at Nashua Community College. So far so good!

An empty college cafeteria pictured July 2020

Some staff, faculty, and students have returned to school this summer. With social distancing measures in place, common areas such as the Cafe at Nashua Community College are typically quiet.

I am encouraged by the deference to public health so many businesses and schools have had in New Hampshire. And it appears to be paying off; as of July 13, New Hampshire has been showing a decline in new cases.

It’s a major credit to the endurance of state residents to keep with health standards, and to watch out for one another.

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