COVID 19 infections across the Seacoast are on the rise, and communities everywhere continue to determine the necessary practices and implement protocols to reduce viral spread. One such response is the Town of Newmarket re-instituting a masking requirement in all public buildings.
Likewise, the recent surge of COVID 19 cases has had a significant impact on our student and staff attendance. We are working to mitigate the impact of COVID 19 for our school community so that we can continue to provide in-person instruction and maintain activities and operations that are as close to normal as possible.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been implementing recommendations and protocols which, if followed with fidelity, increase the likelihood that we will reduce or even possibly eliminate transmission of the virus within the school. These protocols include wearing properly fitted masks and social distancing to the greatest extent possible. Frequent hand washing and sanitizing, in conjunction with vaccinations, are the best practices for reducing viral spread.
Each day we remind students to wear masks properly and continuously, except while eating or drinking, and to social distance to the greatest extent possible. We are fortunate that most students understand the importance of these requirements and can follow the guidelines in a satisfactory manner. There are, however, other students who are more reluctant to embrace these expectations and have required repeated reminders and coaching to wear their mask appropriately. Students choosing to not follow our masking guidelines present a risk to themselves and the other students and staff within their environments. The current and imminent threats (rapid spread and infection rate) posed by the Omicron variant heighten the necessity for all our students to follow the protocols with fidelity.
Beginning on Monday, January 24th, students who are not able to comply with mask requirements will receive one reminder before being sent to a counseling room for the remainder of the class period, followed by an after school detention (parents will be notified). Here they will identify barriers to mask wearing and develop a plan for returning to class. Any subsequent offenses will result in a one-day, in-house suspension.
At the school, we have shared these upcoming changes with students and met with any individuals who anticipate challenges to these practices. Expectations have been clearly communicated and we anticipate that students will do all their part to quell the spread of Covid in their school. We appreciate your support and ask that you also review these expectations at home.
We recognize that there are some who oppose the wearing of masks in schools. In order to better meet the needs of these families, the New Hampshire Department of Education continues to provide alternative options for learning that can take place in the home through VLACS enrollment.
It is our hope that everyone in our school community will join us in our endeavor to provide a safe educational environment for staff and students, where they can confidently focus on teaching and learning.
Thank you for your support.