Superintendent’s Report – October 2022
As of Monday, October 31st the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Cheshire County over the past 14 days was 153. As of October 31st, we have had 41 positive cases of COVID-19 this school year in the Hinsdale School District. We currently have seven known active cases of COVID-19 in the Hinsdale School District.
The BA.5 subvariant remains the dominant version of COVID-19 nationwide making up an estimated 83% of the cases. The U.S. is averaging approximately 45,000 new cases each day with an average of approximately 3,500 hospitalizations. The death rate for COVID-19 is about three times the death rate of the flu during a typical year. It is estimated that Omicron has infected 80 percent of Americans. Going forward, it is estimated that COVID will continue to infect 50 percent of the population every year, even without another Omicron-like new variant. In contrast, flu sickens an estimated 10 to 20 percent of Americans a year. The best predictor of the impact of the flu on the U.S. population during the winter season is the impact of the flu during winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Australia is just now recovering from a very early and very hard flu season.
We are worried that a winter surge of COVID-19 along with a hard flu season in Hinsdale would stretch our resources beyond the manageable range. Therefore, we plan to recommend emergency options to the Board at the November Board meeting. Given the difficulty we are having finding substitutes it would be very difficult to manage if many staff members remain home due to illness. Further complicating this problem is that we have not found a full-time school nurse for Hinsdale Elementary School. We are managing at about 50% coverage with the help of a substitute nurse and our previous HES nurse who is available one day per week.
In addition, due to staffing shortages our ability to manage during a likely winter surge of COVID-19 is compromised. We still need several paras and substitutes in both buildings. We also need a HMHS literary interventionist, a HMHS science teacher, a HMHS special education case manager, a HES Title I tutor, a HES math interventionist, a district part-time curriculum coordinator, an ELO coordinator, a district school psychologist, HASP club advisors, and a JV boys’ basketball coach. As previously mentioned we desperately need a HES school nurse. We are not the only district finding it very difficult to fill our openings. Across the nation it is estimated that a current shortage of 350,000 teachers exists.
We continue to follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) updated guidance for COVID-19 in schools. The guidance advises to stay home for at least five days when sick with COVID-19. After five days out and 24 hours of being symptom free (without medication) students/staff may return as long as they wear a mask for the first five days after returning. Those with the following symptoms should stay home:
*respiratory or gastrointestinal infections
• fever (temperature greater than 100 degrees F),
• sore throat,
Testing is recommended as soon as possible for people with symptoms. We are currently not conducting tests, but do have tests available for families to test at home. Parents are asked to please contact the school if their child tests positive.
Quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19.
All the recommended steps for HVAC systems in the Hinsdale School District have been taken. The district teaches and reinforces proper hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer especially during key times of day such as snack and meal time. We will also emphasize proper covering for coughs and sneezes.
Surfaces are cleaned once a day. If a person with COVID-19 has been inside a school within last 24 hours, the space is cleaned and disinfected.
The US Department of Education is awarding nearly $1 billion in “Stronger Connections Grants” to 56 states and territories through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
We are encouraged to write a grant proposal that would accomplish one of the following:
- Implementing comprehensive, evidence-based strategies that meet student social, emotional, and mental well-being needs; create positive, inclusive, and supportive school environments; and increase access to place-based interventions and services.
- Engaging students, families, educators, staff, and community organizations in the selection and implementation of strategies and interventions to create safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environments.
- Designing and implementing policies and practices that are responsive to underserved students, protect student rights, and demonstrate respect for student dignity and potential.
New Hampshire will be allocated $4,833,025 for the Stronger Connections Grant. Maine, Vermont, and Rhode Island are also receiving that same amount.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New Hampshire has not implemented its federal accountability system required under the “Every Student Succeeds Act” since the Fall of 2019. With the accountability system fully resuming this Fall, we are expected to see the Hinsdale student assessment results from the past school year by early November. In order to meet the state goal for Hinsdale we need to reach 62.54% proficiency in reading and 50.14% proficiency in math.
Our ESSER Review Committee met on October 26th to review the expenditures in our ESSER II and ESSER III grants and to determine if there are additional requests to be considered at the November School Board meeting. We found several areas of savings and intend to propose several options for consideration at the meeting of SAU 92 administrators on Wednesday, November 2nd. If, at the November 2nd meeting, the administrators approve revisions to either ESSER II or ESSER III, those recommendations will go to the Board for approval at the November 9th Board meeting.
We have established district goal teams for the 2022-2023 Hinsdale School District goals. We plan to report out our progress each month beginning in December.
Through collaboration with the Hinsdale Community, the HSD will develop a K-12 Portrait of a Learner that will ensure equity throughout the curriculum. (Aligned with Portrait of a Learner.)
Curriculum design and implementation will provide and enhance opportunities for all students to meet standards that are both practical and progressive and will help each student realize their potential and move toward higher educational and career goals. (Aligned with the Portrait of a Graduate.)
Continue to promote various forms of communication for staff and to provide staff with the information they need in a timely manner.
Increase our web presence to be more user-friendly and to showcase the positive educational experiences at the Hinsdale School District.
Nurture a culture of kindness, open/honest communication and empathy.
To be the School District of choice through thoughtful recruiting efforts, retention of professional, high-quality staff that are innovative and dedicated to the success of our students. To allow for meaningful and relevant professional development.
To explore options for the budget process, including the principals of a modified zero based budget process.
To provide effective training to better integrate technology into all aspects of the district.