Update on COVID-19 March 17, 2021

The School Board continues to closely monitor the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the ever-changing recommendations and guidelines. Our goal is, as it has always been, to provide the best education possible to our students while making every effort to protect the safety of the entire school community. As promised in our last update, the school board was presented with updated recommendations from a district task force created to evaluate the current COVID protocols and policies.

The NH governor has also implemented new policies that we must adhere to. Recently the Governor established executive order #85. Under the Governor’s order, we must provide at least two days of in-person instruction per week for our students and can only close our schools for 48 hours as a reaction to a positive case. In Hinsdale, our goal has always been to provide the option for 5 days a week of in-person learning when it was safe to do so. However, our current policy to switch to remote learning for 10 days in the school reporting a positive case must be updated per the new state guidelines.

Moving forward we will switch to remote learning for only 48 hours upon notification of a positive COVID case in one of the schools. Any positive case in the middle/high school will result in the entire school switching to remote learning for 2 days. However, in the elementary school, only the classroom associated with the positive case will switch to remote learning for 2 days. The remainder of the elementary school will remain open for in-person learning. The reason for this difference is that the elementary school structure is more contained with less movement and sharing of space throughout the building.

We will also be using an “assessment of community transmission model,” in addition to closing due to a positive case in one or both of our schools, to determine the closing of schools would provide a safety net if the risk of community transmission increases. Per the recommendation of our nurses and administrators, we will use the rate of transmission in Cheshire County and the indicators for community transmission as defined by the CDC. The rate of transmission is defined by the total number of new cases per 100,000 in the past seven days and the percentage of tests that are positive in the past seven days. Should Cheshire county reach the positivity rate of 10% and have at least 77 positive cases during the previous seven days, we will close both schools for two days to do a deep cleaning and to allow our staff to implement more strict protocols.

In addition to the adoption of the “risk of community transmission model,” we will continue to do contact tracing and ask students and staff to quarantine if our health care professionals determined that to be the appropriate course of action.

We will continue to maintain open communication with the community. Thank you to the entire community for your continued support and for keeping the safety and wellbeing of the staff and students, as well as the education of the students in Hinsdale everyone’s top priority.