Update on Instructional Model: Not Going Remote on Friday, 11/6.

November 4, 2020

From: Brian Cochrane, Interim Superintendent of Schools
Timberlane Regional School District

Dear Timberlane Families,

I am following up on my communication of November 1, 2020 regarding the Timberlane Regional School District Instructional Model.

Last weekend saw a substantial alignment of National, State, County and Community metrics related to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the data included significant increases over the prior week, including an approximately 50% increase in the number of COVID cases across Atkinson, Danville, Plaistow, and Sandown. In addition, Rockingham County data showed the number of new infections per 100,000 population over the prior 14 days above 100, thus triggering the “Substantial” designation.

At the same time, two of our schools were dealing with contact tracing and COVID-19 testing related to potential outbreaks. All of this data also pointed to potentially significant COVID-19 impact on the Timberlane District Schools. As a result of that information, we did not immediately transition to fully remote learning, but rather put into place a procedure that allowed for an orderly transition to fully remote learning in anticipation of possible school based COVID cases. That strategy also allowed us to monitor the associated metrics during the transition phase and reevaluate the situation at the two schools.

Since Sunday the local community COVID rates have plateaued and then decreased slightly. As of the sending of this message the two potential school situations have run their course without incident and we still have no evidence of school-based transmission of COVID-19. We will continue to monitor the metrics, however, barring any substantial new information related to COVID-19, this Friday November 6th we will continue following our hybrid model rather than transitioning to fully remote. This flexibility is granted in the DHHS document guidance document as follows, “Each school and school district, however, operates in a unique context and with different facility and space capacity, so school districts can choose to take a more or less restrictive approach, as deemed necessary based on the local situation.”

I appreciate your patience and understanding as we try to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and endeavor to provide the best possible education for our students while still keeping all involved healthy. In future, please know that we may not always have the luxury of delaying before making a “pivot” to fully remote instruction due to COVID-19 conditions. You should also know that if a significant event occurs at one school (or more), only the affected schools may move to fully remote. Non-affected schools would remain in the District Instructional Model.

Brian Cochrane Ph.D.
Interim Superintendent
SAU 55 – Hampstead and Timberlane School Districts

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