School districts in the area have been grappling with a year full of disruptions since the pandemic took hold and now another challenge is facing districts as they prepare to follow state rules about returning to full in-person learning.
With Gov. Chris Sununu's executive order No.89 released April 2 and requiring all kindergarten through grade 12 schools to return to five days of in-person learning as of April 19, districts are scurrying to put details in place to be ready for that date.
That includes Londonderry, with the high school currently running on a hybrid learning model, which will now have to be adjusted to follow the governor's orders.
A full remote learning model is also still an option as per the order.
Londonderry High is the only school in the area to be affected by the governor's rule.
In Windham, students in grades eight to 10 will return to full-time learning Monday, making it an all in-person model for pre-kindergarten through grade 12 in the district.
"To this end, we are able to restore a five-day, in-person learning experience for grades pre-K to 12 while still providing the opportunity for remote and hybrid learning for the students that elect to do so," said Windham Superintendent Richard Langlois.
Pinkerton Academy was already phasing in specific grades of high school students to bring the total back to a four-day, in-person schedule with Wednesdays remaining as an early release, remote learning day until before April vacation.
Londonderry Superintendent Scott Laliberte said there will be much work and many challenges to tackle to get ready for an all in-person model, adding he has received many questions from families about how the high school will deal with the updated state requirements.
"We are going to have to adjust our model of operation," Laliberte said at a recent school board meeting. "We will have all students return to instruction at Londonderry High School each day."
Families currently with students in the all-remote model can choose to remain there, Laliberte said.
The superintendent said the change to five days a week will take a lot of planning.
That includes doing safely distanced classroom configurations for more students, altering times for lunch and making sure students passing in the hallways are kept at safe distances.
And with the weather warming up, outdoor spaces will be utilized as much as possible, Laliberte said.
Laliberte said families would be sent a survey to choose what path they want. If they want to be in full remote, they will respond. Those planning to attend full-time all week will not have to respond to the survey.
This will give the district a better way of knowing how many students to expect either in person or in remote.
Laliberte admitted he is a bit nervous about rising COVID-19 numbers, and said it will be more challenging with a school full of students every day to conduct the contact tracing among larger groups if there are positive cases.
"But we are going to continue doing what we have done to this point," he said, "and contact trace to the best of our ability."
Laliberte said the school district continues to work closely with public health experts and to the "greatest degree possible" will work to keep students safe in school.
The superintendent noted that district teachers, administrators and staff will receive the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on April 17, saying 530 people were vaccinated at the first clinic held March 20.