Schools awaiting tent inspections

  • Greenfield Elementary Students sketch and compare their nature drawings outside last week. Courtesy photo

The Keene Sentinel
Published: 9/16/2020 5:19:56 PM

Middle school students in the ConVal Regional School District began returning to in-person instruction Tuesday, but most high-schoolers in the district will continue to learn fully remotely because the tents that are supposed to be their classrooms still need to receive the proper inspection permits.

The further delay comes after most ConVal students in seventh through 12th grades began the school year remotely last Tuesday because the tent installation process was taking longer than expected. The reopening plan for the ConVal district — which covers Antrim, Bennington, Dublin, Francestown, Greenfield, Hancock, Peterborough, Sharon and Temple — calls for tents to be installed on school grounds and used as outdoor classrooms.

“Foremost in our mind throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and now as we navigate this challenge, is the safety of our students and staff,” Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders said in the statement. “That is why we have had to make some adjustments to our reopening plan to ensure everyone experiences a healthy and safe start to the school year.”

Some ConVal middle and high school students have already been able to start in-person learning based on certain factors, such as whether they need internet access or school-based services, according to a news release from the district.

The district has not provided a specific timeline for when all high school students will be able to return to in-person classes. But Saunders said that the district is working every day to resolve the permitting issue with the tents, and will update families every two to three days.

“Until this issue can be resolved, we will continue to exercise flexibility and communicate regularly with students and families to make sure they have the most up-to-date information,” she said. “We look forward to seeing this issue be corrected so that we can pursue our reopening plan in full, and welcome all students back to class in-person as soon as possible.”

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