IL Meeting

Inter-Lakes School District Superintendent Mary Moriarty; left; and Assistant Superintendent Trish Temperino answer questions from the School Board during a presentation on the plans for reopening schools for the 2020-21 school year. (YouTube screen shot)

MEREDITH — Parents of students in the Inter-Lakes School District will have the option of letting their child attend in-person classes or continue with remote learning under a plan presented to the School Board.

The parental option was among a series of recommendations for the operation of the 2020-21 school year presented by school Superintendent Mary Moriarty during a 3¼-hour work session.

Moriarty also outlined a four-tier system of how in-person instruction would work depending on the incidence of COVID-19 cases in the coming months or other factors.

The categories proposed are:

• All students and staff involved in in-person instruction present in the school system.

• Some students present in school with others learning remotely, but with all staff in the school.

– A partial-remote arrangement, with a majority of participants in a remote location.

• Fully remote, with teachers and students all in remote locations.

The coming months will be “difficult to navigate” for school officials, Moriarty said, explaining the rationale of the tier plan.

Moriarty pointed to the time after Thanksgiving when students return to class after a four-day break when people often travel and families unite.

“After Thanksgiving I’m really worried,” Moriarty said.

She said that if there should be a jump in illness among students or staff, the district might need to move to the partial-remote tier for a time.

In order to reduce the risk of having the COVID-19 virus spread in the school, students and staff will be expected to stay home if they have any symptoms associated with the coronavirus.

“Even if you have the sniffles, stay home,” Moriarty said.

Students and staff will be required to wear face masks in school and students will be required to keep them on while on school buses. Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis, but only after school officials have conferred with specialists.

“There will be very few if any exceptions,” Moriarty stressed.

Students will be given breaks to go outside and remove their masks for a bit.

Parents will be required to do a health screening of their child before they leave for school, and report the results to the district.

Students will eat meals in their classrooms, rather than the cafeteria.

Moriarty offered no specific recommendation on whether to offer fall sports. She noted that other schools were undecided what to do with their sports programs.

The School Board made no decision Tuesday, as it was not a formal meeting. It is scheduled to meet again next Monday and the board “may come to a decision on at least some components of the reopening plan,” board Chairman Richard Hanson said.

Hanson said he also wanted to give the public ample time to comment about the plan. He said it was unlikely that the board would make any decision about athletics at next Monday’s meeting. But he did encourage anyone wanting to state their views about athletics to attend next Monday’s meeting, when the public will have a chance to speak.

“I think we realize we will not please everyone,” Hanson said of the reopening plan. “We have competing processes. Our instinct is to protect and deal with COVID, and our instinct is to provide students with knowledge — not only an academic experience, but also a personally enriching experience.”

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