PETERBOROUGH — Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders is pleased to announce that all ConVal students will be able to return to in-person learning as scheduled early next month, as the district has attempted to resolve ongoing permitting issues caused by a lack of required documentation from the tent vendor.
On Monday, Oct. 5, and beyond South Meadow School seventh and eighth graders will be able to attend classes in-person, as will all ConVal high school students in the blue cohort. Students in grades 9-12 in the gold cohort will attend in-person together beginning on Oct. 13, and the two cohorts will rotate as scheduled going forward.
ConVal High School will pursue its hybrid learning model, and all other district schools will pursue fully in-person learning. The execution of the district’s initial reopening plan was hindered over the first month of the year by the failure of the tent vendor retained by the district to provide adequate documentation to support the tent permitting process.
“This has already been a school year unlike any we’ve experienced, and I’m grateful to all of our students, families and teachers who have been so willing to adapt along with us in the early going,” Rizzo Saunders said. “Ultimately, our biggest concern is ensuring a safe environment for our students and staff, and while it may not have happened as we’d hoped, I’m thankful we have finally reached this point and will be welcoming more students back in-person soon.”
In late August and early September, the district became aware that tents over 400 square feet that it rented from Monadnock Tent and Event would not meet the permitting requirements set out by the state of New Hampshire. The permitting challenges were created by the vendor’s inability to provide engineering data and other required documentation to the necessary authorities.
As a result, the district had to modify its reopening plan and transitioned students at Great Brook, South Meadow and ConVal Regional High Schools to a remote learning model. Freshmen at Con-Val High School have been attending in-person classes on a cohort basis.
“Monadnock Tent and Event bears the responsibility for ensuring that the tents provided to the district can be permitted for use, and they have failed to live up to that responsibility. In doing so, they forced us to make significant changes to our plans for the beginning of the school year and negatively impacted student learning,” Rizzo Saunders said. “We are working to hold them accountable and recoup what we can financially, even as we come to terms with the reality that we cannot make up for the in-person time with students that was lost due to the tent issue.”
ConVal has requested a refund of $183,690 from Monadnock Tent and Event for funds already expended on tents that were not usable, and will be withholding additional money initially owed to the vendor pending the resolution of permitting issues.
The usable tents provided by Monadnock Tent and Event, as well as additional tents the district procured from another vendor, will remain in service through the fall and — if weather permits — until the Thanksgiving recess.
The district will provide additional updates as they become available.