Rochester Schools will return to full onsite learning with virtual options

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Rochester School District custodians receive training on the operation of electrostatic sprayers, which allow disinfectant and sanitizer droplets to better clean surfaces and hard to reach areas than traditional spray bottles, buckets and rags. (Courtesy/

ROCHESTER - Rochester's School Superintendent said on Thursday that Rochester's plan for the upcoming school year includes a return to full onsite learning with an early opening of the Maple Street Magnet School on Aug. 11 and all the other schools on Sept. 3.
The plan combines the safety recommendations and guidelines from the Rochester Restart Task Force and the New Hampshire Department of Education. It was approved by the School Board last night.
"This decision was one we made after careful and deliberate consideration, as we recognize all options have significant impacts on our community," Repucci said. "The health and safety of our students, staff and their families has been and will continue to be our top priority. As such, it's important to keep in mind that this is the plan for now, but that it could change based on the guidance from local, state and federal officials as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. We will continue to keep you updated should any changes occur."
Some key health and safety measures in the plan are that:
Masks will be mandatory for all staff and students. Individuals can either bring in their own masks from home or the school will be able to provide them one. Mask breaks will be incorporated throughout the day, including during meals.
Staff will be going through a two-day training before the start of school to go over safety and cleanliness protocols.
Students will be screened at home by parents, and cannot attend school if they have a fever or symptoms related to COVID-19. Staff will also be required to self-screen, and cannot come to work if they have a fever or other symptoms. If someone is symptomatic and tests positive for COVID-19, they must remain out of school for at least 10 days after the symptoms first present themselves, at least 24 hours since their last fever and until symptoms improve. If someone is asymptomatic but tests positive, they will be allowed to return after 10 days, as long as they remain symptom-free.
No outside visitors will be allowed into the school buildings. Should a parent need to pick up or drop off their children, they will need to wear a mask if they get out of their car.
Classrooms will be arranged to maximize the distance between students and assigned seating will be required.
Teachers will also move from classroom to classroom for lessons as necessary to limit the amount of students walking in the halls.
Hallways will be marked with social distancing and directional markers.
High touch surfaces, such as handrails and door handles, will be cleaned throughout the day, and each building will be deep cleaned at night.
Buses will have assigned seating and be loaded from back to front and unloaded from front to back. Those on the bus will be required to wear masks as well.
Information about extracurricular activities will be announced sometime in the near future.
The plan will be flexible in order to adapt to any changes that may need to be made as the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, school officials said, and will be re-evaluated every 30 days to ensure that the safety and health needs of students, staff and their families are being met.
Opportunities are available for those who would like to continue remote learning for their students as well. Courses are available on the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS) for all students. More information about the program and how to sign up can be found online here.

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