School Reopening Task Force Holds First Meeting

By Chris Paul

The newly formed Londonderry School Reopening Task Force held its first meeting on Tuesday, July 13, where they sorted out the goals of the committee as well as electing officers.
Although School Board Liaison Bob Slater began the meeting, member Chad Franz was elected as the chairman, while Danielle Richards was elected as Vice-Chair and member Donna Traynham took on the responsibility of secretary.
There were nearly 90 applicants that volunteered to be on the Task Force and 16 were chosen to represent the community in an effort to come up with a school’s reopening plan in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plan will need to be developed in less than a month, considering the School Board will need to vote on it in the second week of August.
The meeting began with introductions of the 15 members of the group followed by the election of the officers.
From there, the committee took public comment, the newly elected chair Chad Franz allowed residents to speak to the committee. Resident Rachel Killian asked how many of the task force members actually have been attending School Board members. Many of them responded that they had.
Steve Barker, a 33-year resident thanked the group for donating their time, but wondered why the number committee members was 15, he thought that was a rather large amount.
Slater answered by saying that the number was derived through the superintendents office who worked with the Town Manager on coming up with a number.
Barker also felt that the categories people were broken into were very uneven. The group is broken up as nine residents, five educators and one medical.
Jamie Tuccolo wondered why out of the 90 applicants that submitted names, only one was chosen with a medical background. He added that he personally knew of three that were not chosen.
Slater was the only person on the board that could answer the question and he said that each school board member made there own selections and of those selections the names were drawn.
Franz added that residents who want to give input to the task force can do so through email at reopening@londonderry.org.
Moving from public comment, member Tim Porter suggested that the task force move away from the 2020-21 reopening plan as a baseline and go back to the 2019 plan that did not include COVID-19 considerations. He suggested a whole restructuring of the plan, which drew applause from those attending.
From there, each member offered his or her ideas on where the starting point should be and where to start with a plan.
Committee member offered bullet points on areas they should be covering as the task force moves forward.
A Vision for Reopening list was created from those ideas.
They included policies on the following: vaccine privacy; nursing; masks; quarantine; social/athletics; social distancing; remote learning; mental health; younger learners; facility cleaning; contact tracing; communication; transportation/busing; special education needs; dining services; student interaction and recess; screening; triggers; learning gaps and COVID tests.
Meetings for the Task Force are scheduled for July 22 and 27; and Aug. 6 where they should have a plan developed to present to the School Board. On Aug. 10 the School Board will need to vote on the plan.

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