Dear Lyme School Community,
Since the end of the 2019-2020 school year, the School Board, administration, faculty and staff have been developing education options for 2020-2021. We are writing to provide the first update on our plans for the upcoming school year.
As we all know, there is significant uncertainty regarding when, if, and how SARS-CoV-2 will affect our community in coming months. There are varying levels of concern among parents and students, as well as the Lyme School’s faculty and staff. We must keep safety at the forefront, while ensuring we achieve the mission of our school to educate our students, following the Principles of Learning, so important to our school community. We also recognize that virtual learning has developmental impacts on students, as well as implications for teachers and parents. Our mission is to deliver a high quality education to all, while keeping the children, faculty, and staff healthy.
This past Tuesday, the NH Department of Education published guidelines for reopening schools. As we anticipated, these guidelines leave many key decisions to the school district. On Wednesday evening, the Board met to discuss scenarios prepared by the faculty study group assigned to examine options for instruction during the pandemic. We have also considered other states’ guidelines, data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and reopening experiences from other countries.
At this time, we are moving forward with plans to open school, in-person, in September. We are evaluating the options of a hybrid model (combination of in-school and remote learning), as well as a full in-person scenario. For both in-person scenarios, we will implement appropriate health and safety strategies to mitigate the risk of transmission and spread of SARS-CoV-2. Related policies will further solidify in the upcoming weeks.
The school is also preparing a fully remote instruction model should the time come when an increase in the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the community or other conditions warrant school closure. The Board is actively monitoring the situation and will communicate any change in its plan to reopen the school.
In approaching a decision on the mode of instruction, we intend to follow these guiding principles:
1. A commitment to the health and well-being of our school community.
2. A belief in the mission of the Lyme School, including the developmental impact of not learning in an in-person environment.
3. A plan to implement behavioral protocols and other changes to mitigate the possibility of transmission.
4. A promise to communicate transparently.
The Board, as well as school administration and faculty, plan to meet frequently this summer to continue this process. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Mr. Valence or reply to this email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Your feedback and questions will be shared with the School Board as we navigate towards the start of the school year.
We believe that the fabric of our community will help us all get through this pandemic. We appreciate your support and engagement.
The Lyme School Board
The next Board meeting will be on 7/23/2020 at 6pm. Please check the school website for the meeting link and agenda within 24 hours prior to the meeting.