PETERBOROUGH — Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders wishes to provide an update on the district’s in-person learning plans as the situation related to its outdoor tents continues to evolve.
At the end of September, Monadnock Tent and Event was asked to and subsequently did remove tents that were larger than 20 feet by 20 feet, which could not be permitted nor used and are now the subject of ongoing litigation initiated by the district. The remaining tents that were 20-by-20 or smaller were to remain and were being used daily, but Monadnock Tent and Event last weekend removed six 20-by-20 tents from four schools throughout the district without permission.
“Outdoor learning has been extraordinarily popular among students and teachers alike, and it has been a vital part of our efforts to maintain hybrid learning. We are committed to outdoor learning for as long as it is possible,” Superintendent Saunders said. “We are deeply disappointed in the actions of Monadnock Tent and Event.”
Outdoor space remains a core element of the district’s in-person learning plan for the fall, and individual schools have modified their approach to in-person learning while the district is working to replace the tents taken by Monadnock Tent and Event.
As a result of the vendor’s choice to come onto school property to take tents that the district had paid for and was utilizing, schools have adapted their in-person learning plans. Students at all ConVal schools continue to spend much of their time outdoors.
Many schools are using outdoor space for programming, including physical education, morning meetings and general education. Schools are also utilizing nearby forests and natural space to diversify students’ learning and maximize outdoor learning opportunities.
Last week, the district filed suit against Monadnock Tent and Event alleging that it failed to uphold its responsibility to deliver the usable tents it was contracted to deliver. In all, the district is seeking $220,236.99 in total damages from Monadnock Tent and Event. This amount includes a refund for the money spent on tents that were not able to be permitted, labor costs, engineering costs, and electrical work.
The district has engaged counsel regarding the seizure of the tents the district had been able to utilize, and will update the community regularly.