ROCHESTER — Superintendent Kyle Repucci announces changes to the school year calendar due to the extension of remote learning through the end of April as a result of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
Since March 17, students have been participating in remote learning after Gov. Chris Sununu announced the closure of schools statewide in an effort to combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Remote learning will continue until at least May 4.
On Thursday, April 9, the Rochester School Board voted to make several changes to the school year calendar in light of the impact of the novel coronavirus and the closure of school facilities through at least May 4.
“Our district has made the best of a very trying situation,” School Board Chair Paul Lynch said. “All of the staff, including administrators, teachers, paraeducators, facilities workers, have embraced the challenge and provided a stable education for our community. The entire Rochester School Board is very proud of all of them their service to our students. This has been a unique experience for the district, and we are grateful for the community’s patience and cooperation over the last few weeks.”
The presentation and other materials from that meeting can be found online here.
This year’s spring vacation is cancelled, and April 27 to May 1 will now be designated as remote learning days. This decision came after many extensive discussions with staff and faculty, all of whom ultimately agreed that this would help keep students engaged with their learning and thus, be better prepared for the eventual return to school.
Friday, May 15 will be the last day of school for students at Spaulding High School, Bud Carlson Academy, Rochester Middle School, Gonic School, McClelland School, William Allen School, Chamberlain School, School Street School, East Rochester School and Nancy Loud School.
Monday, June 1 will be the last day of school for Maple Street Magnet School. Learning for students at this school will continue for an extra two weeks due to the extra days required by the Magnet School’s charter.
“These changes were not made lightly and hopefully will benefit families as we all continue to navigate these unprecedented times,” Superintendent Repucci said. “Prior to the mandated transition to remote learning, we were able to utilize Blizzard Bags to avoid snow days, which would have extended this school year. We also had the benefit of starting the school year prior to Labor Day, which would have allowed students to finish school earlier than other students in the state already.”
Students or families with any questions about remote learning should contact either their teacher or school administrators directly.
“Teachers have done an amazing job transitioning their lesson plans from in-person to online, and making themselves available for students during this time,” Superintendent Repucci said. “I’m incredibly proud of the work they’ve done, the creative ways they’ve adapted their lessons, and their overall commitment to their students and their learning.”
“The Rochester Public Schools administrators and teachers have gone above and beyond to ensure the incredible work done in school continues while students are participating in remote learning at home,” Rochester Mayor Caroline McCarley said. “All of their work has been inspiring and extraordinary, and a true testament to their dedication to providing Rochester students with the best possible learning opportunities.”
Discussions are underway to reschedule any events that may have been cancelled or postponed — such as the Spaulding High School graduation, and fifth and eighth grade recognitions and celebrations — due to the school closures. Those dates will be announced at a later time and all members of the Rochester Public School community are invited to attend those events.
To-go breakfasts and lunches will be available for students throughout the rest of the school year and can be picked up daily Monday through Friday from 7-10 a.m. More information about that program can be found here.
Once the school year ends, the Community Action Partnership of Strafford County will be providing meals for school-aged children in the community. This program will begin on Monday, May 18. More information can be found here.
The district also wishes to provide the following tips for parents and guardians to promote social emotional well-being:
- Limit the amount of TV News that children see/hear.
- Talk to children about what is going on in age appropriate ways. For tips from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on talking to children about this pandemic, click here.
- Seek out enriching activities for students to engage in, when they are not engaged in remote learning. Examples of such activities include arts and crafts projects, drawing or painting, reading, taking a walk or yoga.
- If you have questions or concerns, contact your child’s teacher or counselor.
- Know that children may be upset about the situation surrounding this pandemic and acknowledge their feelings.
- For more information on managing stress and anxiety during this pandemic, visit the CDC’s website here.
For more information, visit the NH DHHS website by clicking here and the CDC’s website by clicking here. Parents are also encouraged to use this resource to learn more about how to talk to their children about the novel coronavirus situation.