STODDARD — Students at James Faulkner Elementary School returned to in-person instruction Tuesday, after a COVID-19 case among the staff last month prompted the school to switch to remote learning.
Faulkner transitioned to remote learning on Dec. 14, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. Another staff member tested positive for the viral respiratory illness later that week, according to a post on the school’s Facebook page, signed by Allison Peterson, the school’s interim principal, and Jacqueline Coe, superintendent of N.H. School Administrative Unit 24, which includes the Stoddard district.
Students at Faulkner continued to learn remotely until winter break began Dec. 23 and began the spring term remotely on Monday. Throughout this remote-learning period, school staff and families continued to submit daily health-screening questionnaires, which provided information that school officials used to decide it was safe to reopen the building Tuesday.
Aside from the roughly two-week remote-learning period, Faulkner Elementary, which enrolls about 65 students in kindergarten through 5th grade, has been holding in-person classes five days a week, with students divided into cohorts of 16 or fewer, according to the school’s reopening plan. Families also have had the option for their children to learn fully remotely.
Nearly all area school districts returned from winter break Monday with fully remote instruction. Schools in SAU 29 — which covers Keene and six nearby towns — were originally scheduled to resume its hybrid model Monday, but delayed that move until Jan. 19 due to the heightened potential for coronavirus transmission if families and school staff traveled or gathered with people outside their homes for the holidays.
The ConVal School District, Fall Mountain Regional School District, Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District and Hinsdale School District also are scheduled to resume some in-person instruction on Jan. 19.
The Winchester School Board plans to consider whether to switch back to a hybrid model at its meeting on Thursday. Winchester School has been operating remotely since Nov. 16 due to the spike in coronavirus cases locally.
The Monadnock Regional School District was the only area district to return from winter break Monday with a hybrid model. School board members in the Monadnock district — which covers Fitzwilliam, Gilsum, Richmond, Roxbury, Swanzey and Troy — have said they believe schools remain safe despite rising coronavirus cases throughout the region, and students benefit from at least some in-person learning.