The Fall Mountain Regional School District will shift from hybrid to fully remote learning starting Monday, Nov. 30, until Tuesday, Jan. 19, Superintendent Lori Landry said in an email to families and staff Wednesday night.
Landry’s announcement followed a school-board meeting that evening, during which members discussed the increase in COVID-19 transmission rates in the area, according to her email.
“We are seeing a continuous rising of COVID-19 cases here in NH. While we have had a few positive cases within our school community, we have not experienced any school transmission and in all our cases, the individual was already out of school reducing the exposure risk to others,” she said. “We could not have reached this point in the school year without the support of our families, students and staff following our safety guidelines.”
Still, she said, based on a matrix from the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services to gauge the virus’ impact on schools, Fall Mountain is moving from “low” to “medium” impact. Among the measurements included in the matrix is absenteeism due to illness, as well as the schools’ capacity to continue normal operations.
Fall Mountain covers Acworth, Alstead, Charlestown, Langdon and Walpole.
On Monday, the district learned that three people at Fall Mountain Regional High School in Langdon and Charlestown Middle School had tested positive for COVID-19, according to a news release from Landry the following day. Landry did not specify whether those people were students or staff members but explained that none of them have been in the schools since Nov. 5.
She added that based on guidance from the state health department, both schools would remain open as of Tuesday for a limited number of students to attend classes in-person each day.
With Wednesday’s announcement, however, Fall Mountain became the latest district in this area to move toward fully remote instruction.
Hinsdale schools will be remote until after Thanksgiving after learning last week that a high school student in the district tested positive for COVID-19. The Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District will be remote until at least Dec. 7 following several confirmed COVID-19 cases at Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School/Conant High School. And the Winchester School Board voted last Thursday to switch to fully remote instruction due to the rising number of cases in Cheshire County.
Keene and the six other districts of N.H. School Administrative Unit 29 will go fully remote starting Nov. 30, with the goal of returning to some in-person instruction after Christmas break.
Meanwhile, the ConVal School District is planning to switch to remote learning from Nov. 30 through Jan. 15. This transition was written into ConVal’s reopening plan in anticipation of a second wave of the novel coronavirus around the holidays, Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders said.
On Tuesday night, the Monadnock Regional School Board discussed the possibility of shifting its own district to a completely remote model, but members opted to stay in hybrid mode for now.
Members cited the low incidence of cases within district schools and the value of students receiving some in-person instruction.