August 13, 2021
Dear ConVal Community,
Since March of 2020, when the ConVal Board first enacted new protocols to address the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been fortunate in the nine towns that make up the School District to have consistently low or no cases of COVID-19 for extended periods of time. As a result of our efforts, there have been no confirmed cases of transmission within our schools. We know that this is a result of the commitment of our students’, staff’s, and communities’ commitment and vigilance to COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Thank you for your help in keeping our communities healthy through your careful attention to prevention practices. However, with the emergence and spread of the Delta variant, the Board wants to make sure our community is familiar with the roles and responsibilities of the administration, the COVID-19 monitoring team, and the Board, as they relate to responding to this pandemic.
COVID Monitoring Team
The district’s COVID-19 Monitoring Team assesses conditions for school operation daily. The team reviews town-by-town and regional data on the number of active cases, vaccination rates, test positivity rates, trends, etc. The Team, which includes several medical professionals, also reviews published scientific studies and reports that are released related to COVID-19. The Team also reviews recommendations and guidance issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS), the New Hampshire Department of Education (NH DOE), and the Governor. Based on this information, and after significant discussion among members of the Team, a recommendation will be made to the Administration. This recommendation could be a relatively minor suggestion on a revision to a mitigation strategy or a more significant recommendation such as moving from a blue status (low mitigation) to green (moderate mitigation), or green to yellow (significant mitigation), etc. These levels are further described in the District’s Reopening Plan. The recommendation might also be to make no changes despite other Districts in our region relaxing or adding protocols. All recommendations provided by the Team contain the citations and reasoning used to arrive at their informed opinion.
The Administration reviews recommendations proposed by the Team. Significant shifts in operating conditions, e.g. those that would warrant a transition from the blue to the green, or green to the yellow level, will be presented to the Board for a decision. The Administration has the authority to implement minor revisions to mitigation protocols and take actions on an emergency basis. Notification of any changes to protocols will be provided to the Board.
The School Board holds the ultimate authority and responsibility to make all final decisions relative to the implementation of responses and policies related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, unless superseded by state or federal requirements. The School Board is also responsible for balancing our policies related to the response to the pandemic with the educational needs of students, their social and emotional well-being, the availability and impact on staff, our financial resources, and other factors. COVID-19 is an important factor considered by the Board, but not the only factor. Any recommendation brought to the Board will be discussed at a regular or emergency meeting of the Board. The Board will debate the recommendation and then vote on what action is to be taken. The administration will implement the decision reached by the Board.
The closer we follow the public health protocols the more likely that we will be able to continue to have in-person learning that is as “normal” as possible for the students in the ConVal School District. In order to maintain in-person learning, continue to have low COVID-19 numbers in our towns, and keep our communities safe, it is imperative that we remain vigilant by getting vaccinated if you are able to do so, washing our hands regularly, wearing masks when directed to do so, remaining home when symptomatic, getting tested when experiencing symptoms or exposed to known cases, and following public health guidance.
The ConVal School Board remains committed to the students, staff, and communities of the ConVal District during this ongoing pandemic.
ConVal School Board