A slow reopening is being proposed for the Nashua School District, with classes kicking off in a remote setting and switching to a hybrid approach in October.
“This plan is organic. It is not a contract, it is not something that is set in stone,” Superintendent Jahmal Mosley said Monday while presenting the plan to the Nashua Board of Education.
Parents would have the option of fully remote instruction for their children starting Oct. 5, or a hybrid that blends in-person instruction and remote learning.
“The epidemiology did not allow us to consider going back to school fully,” said Sharon Giglio, school board member and reopening task force member.
Bobbie Bagley, director of the city’s public health department, said Monday that last week the percentage of positive cases for those being tested for COVID-19 in Nashua was around 12 percent. That number was around 8 percent the week prior, she said.
“We have to look at these things and let the (epidemiology) guide us,” said Bagley.
Students would be required to wear masks and teachers to wear masks or face shields, according to the recommendations.
Under the recommended plan, the new school year would begin on Sept. 8 with a fully remote model for the first four weeks.
On Oct. 5, all elementary schools would begin with 50 percent of students in the classroom Monday and Tuesday and the rest of the students on Wednesday and Thursday. Remote learning would take place on the days that students are not in class. All students would have remote instruction on Friday.
At the middle school level, starting a week later, 25 percent of students would be in the classroom.
Similarly, 25 percent of all high school students will be attending in-classroom instruction later in October as well, meaning middle and high school students will start off in school buildings one day a week and work remotely the remainder of the week.
On Nov. 30, the middle and high schools will potentially convert to 50 percent of students in the classroom; eventually, students may attend two consecutive days of in-classroom instruction per week.
For all grade levels, an early release schedule would be in place, according to the hybrid plan.
“Comcast has confirmed much-needed WiFi ‘hot spots’ will continue to be active to support connectivity in Nashua for our students,” the proposal states, adding the district expects to be able to purchase masks and face shields for all staff and students. In addition, hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed in each classroom.
The proposal indicates the district would purchase 3,500 additional Chromebooks at a cost of $750,000, which will be paid for with funds from the CARES Act, to assist with remote learning.
The school board is hosting a meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday to gather public input on the plan.