With COVID-19 numbers rising throughout the state, administration and the board of trustees have been tasked with a difficult decision to transition into a fully remote learning environment or stay in a hybrid model schedule.
Since being named the headmaster in the summer of 2019, Dr. Powers has had to make some difficult decisions–canceling school due to weather conditions, postponing a pep rally in the fall of 2019 because of a threat, and now navigating decisions during a coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Powers said that there are multiple factors that need to be considered when deciding to be in school or not, including “the [statistics] that we have for the number of cases we have in the community, the number of cases that have been on campus, the ability to make sure that we have staff in every class everyday, and also the need and the desire to have students on campus.”
Following the CDC protocols and completing the daily self-monitoring form has helped to keep the campus safe and has prevented community spread among the school community. Powers explained that he hopes “everyone is being a good human being and…is [being] mindful of others health.”
Dr. Powers’ Friday updates are one of the many ways the administration is being transparent about what the school knows and how to stay safe. When the school is alerted of a new case, whether it be staff or student, he will announce how many cases have been confirmed, along with health and safety reminders or any new information.
After the Thanksgiving break, students who are struggling with online learning or just want to come to campus to work and get additional help, completed an application to participate in this newly developed program. Currently, the plan is to split the students into smaller cohorts and give them the resources and support they need while virtually learning.
As the number of cases rise in New Hampshire, along with the uncertainty of a normal last half of the year, students’ stress levels are higher than normal. Ms.Coufos, a school counselor, expressed that students are currently struggling most with how to organize their work, access their Google Meets or Zoom calls, and interact with others when on campus.
Coufos offered some advice: “Never be afraid to ask questions and stick to a daily schedule and allow for breaks.”
Coufos, like her colleagues in the School Counseling Department, are working to ensure the student body is all okay and reminding students they have a support system available when they need it.
“I am constantly reaching out to students through Google Meets, making phone calls home, and initiating email threads,” said Coufous.
Students aren’t the only ones on campus struggling. Faculty and staff are also dealing with the unknown and also need to sometimes vent about the struggles of online teaching.
“Even adults can benefit from a healthy vent session every once in a while,” said Coufos.
Overall, everyone is trying to make this awful, stressful situation as manageable as possible. The school community supporting one another during these unprecedented times is reassuring.
Ms. Coufos’ words of truth: “This too shall pass.”