Meeting in session

The Hinsdale School Board met Aug. 5 in the SAU conference room to choose a school reopening plan for Hinsdale Elementary School and Hinsdale Middle/High School. The meeting was also broadcast via Zoom, and about 100 people tuned in.

HINSDALE — Students in the Hinsdale School District will start school on Tuesday, Sept. 8, two weeks later than originally planned.

The Hinsdale School Board approved the delayed start date at a meeting Monday night, Superintendent Wayne Woolridge said Tuesday morning. The move comes less than a week after the board approved a reopening plan that will bring students who choose in-person instruction back to school five days a week, with a number of health and safety measures in place to mitigate the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public schools statewide transitioned to remote learning in mid-March due to concern over COVID-19 and remained that way through the end of the school year. After Gov. Chris Sununu released the state’s reopening guidance on July 14, largely leaving ultimate decisions up to individual school districts, public schools throughout the Monadnock Region have been working toward finalizing their reopening plans.

Hinsdale now has a reopening plan in place, and a start date set, but the plan still could change in response to public-health needs, according to a letter posted on the district’s website Tuesday morning.

“Please keep in mind that the current pandemic dictates that this plan be somewhat fluid and that this is what our reopening plan looks like as of today,” the letter reads. “This plan is a work in progress as final preparations are made. We will continue to keep the community updated as details of how these plans will be implemented are finalized.”

For now, the Hinsdale plan calls for Hinsdale Elementary School students to return to full in-person classes, with physical distancing and precautions in place. In classes where appropriate physical distance cannot be achieved, students will be split into two groups, each of which will spend part of the day in the classroom and the other part learning remotely from elsewhere in the building.

Students at Hinsdale Middle/High School will also report to school five days a week but will be broken into two groups that alternate days of in-class instruction and days of “ancillary instruction” supervised by a staff member in another part of the building, according to the plan. On those days, students will tune in to their classes using video-conferencing technology from elsewhere in the building to reduce class volumes and promote physical distancing.

All Hinsdale students and staff also will be required to wear masks in school and stay home if they are sick.

The Hinsdale reopening plan also offers a fully remote learning option for families who do not feel comfortable sending their children back to any in-person classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the letter posted on the district website Tuesday, this “remote learning will look significantly different than it did in the spring,” with students expected to log into virtual classes at regularly scheduled times, and “complete the same workload on the same timeline as in class students.”

Jack Rooney can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1404, or jrooney@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @RooneyReports.