Superintendent Kyle Repucci and Rochester Public Schools wish to share a draft of the district’s return plan for the coming school year.
The initial draft calls for the district to follow a full-time in-person learning model during fall 2021, with no fully remote learning option for students.
The district is currently following the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommendations for returning to school. The return plan is subject to change following input from key stakeholders, including parents, staff and members of the community. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide feedback at two upcoming School Board meetings on Thursday, July 8, and Thursday, Aug. 12.
“We have come a long way from last year, but as always the health and safety of our students, staff and community members is our main concern. With these added safety measures, we are confident in offering completely in-person school days to our students,” said Superintendent Repucci. “We hope that this school year looks and feels more normal than the last two have been, but we still want students and staff to be mindful of ongoing COVID-19 safety precautions.”
At this time, masks are optional for all students and staff and are not required. During cold and flu season, mask-wearing for students and staff will be mandated while inside school buildings. Following guidance from the state, masks are not required at schools when students are outdoors as long as social distancing protocols can be maintained.
Monitoring for Symptoms
Prior to the start of each school day, parents and staff will be asked to complete the Rochester School Department’s health screening tool to assess any COVID-19 related symptoms.
Students and staff members should not come to school if they are experiencing symptoms, including a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, chills, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, runny nose, nausea or vomiting.
Additionally, students and staff members should not come to school if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or if they have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19. Students and staff should only return to school after they have met the criteria for return.
While at school, staff and students are encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms throughout the day. If a student develops symptoms while at school, they should notify a staff member immediately.
Cleaning and Hygiene
The district will provide each school with personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and soap and more.
Disposable surface wipes will be available in every classroom, computer lab, multipurpose room, common area and other identified areas on school grounds with a high level of traffic.
Custodians will follow established building cleaning schedules and perform ongoing and routine environmental cleaning. High-touch areas, including door handles, stair rails, faucet handles, toilet handles, playground equipment, drinking fountains, light switches, desks, tables, chairs, kitchen countertops and more will be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
Water and Ventilation Systems
The district will maintain the centralized filtered drinking stations in each school. The district will also upgrade heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) filters and adhere to a filter change-out program for all schools. CO2 levels in school buildings will be continuously monitored in order to increase fresh air circulation.
Pending the approval of financing, the district will upgrade all HVAC systems throughout the district.
Coping and Resilience
The topic of COVID-19 can be stressful for many and the district will continue to help students and staff in order to support the well-being of the community. To assist with coping and building resilience the district will:
- Encourage students, staff and family to talk with people they trust about their concerns about COVID-19 and how they are feeling.
- Designate school principals as the COVID-19 point of contact for the school in collaboration with district school nurses.
- Conduct ongoing training among all staff on updated health and safety protocols.
- Partner with other institutions in the community to promote communication and cooperation in responding to COVID-19
Residents are encouraged to keep an eye out over the summer for any updates or changes to the district’s plan.
Community members are also encouraged to fill out a feedback form for the current reopening plan here.