Rochester School Committee discusses reopening, in-person plan

Nov 5, 2020

ROCHESTER — Even though Rochester Memorial school has remained covid-free, Old Rochester Regional School District Superintendent Michael Nelson said it’s important for the school to remain vigilant and take covid symptoms “very seriously” at a Nov. 5 Rochester School Committee meeting. 

He said that because of the diligence by those in the district, 15 students and three teachers who have had to isolate or quarantine due to the virus were able to return to school. 

“Having our students in the building remains one of our top priorities,” Nelson said.

The discussion shifted to the recently released addendum to the district’s fall reopening plan, which offered more data on feasibility and metrics regarding a full return to in-person learning in the district. 

Nelson said it was important to remember that even though the district offered plans to return for the schools, nothing is set in stone. 

“It’s a moving target as we continue to meet our families and our students where they’re at,” he said. 

Committee member Katherine Duggan commended the administration’s work to bring education to children throughout the pandemic, but raised concerns about the quality of learning for the district’s youngest students. 

“They can’t do anything on their own,” Duggan said. 

Committee member Sharon Hartley said the most important grades to return to full in-person learning are kindergarten and first grade, as they are only beginning to pick up basic functions like social skills. 

“They have not learned how to learn yet,” she said.

Nelson said he recognizes the challenges of remote learning for families with younger students.