LYNDONVILLE — Three of the schools in the Kingdom East School District will be moved to remote learning in the coming weeks due to concerns over ventilation in Concord, Gilman/Lunenburg schools.
Superintendent Jen Botzojorns on Thursday announced the three PreK-8 schools in the unified district which serves eight towns, including Burke, Newark, Lyndon, Sheffield, Sutton and Wheelock, would need to move online soon, “Due to ventilation and construction challenges, we need to pivot to remote learning at two different times for two different schools.”
The Lunenburg/Gilman schools will move to remote learning “for a little over a week the last week of November/1st week of December and Concord for several weeks in later December/early January,” according to the superintendent.
Letters went home to families in the three schools and Botzojorns noted, “The facilities committee is aware of the challenges and needs that necessitate the pivot to remote learning.”
Additionally, Botzojorns said that the district has decided to cease indoor sports for the winter months, and will not have basketball as planned. She said the school district’s athletic director, principals in the district, and the facilities and COVID coordinators for Kingdom East “spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how to do all of our previous winter sports. We have made the decision for safety and health reasons to not have indoor sports, (basketball) this year.”
A letter was also sent out about that decision on Wednesday.
Similar letters went home to students in the Concord and Lunenburg/Gilman schools about the reasons for students to learn online for a short period of time soon.
Lunenburg/Gilman Principal Cheryl McVetty wrote, in part, “As part of making our school safe for our faculty, staff, and students, we have conducted a complete air quality analysis and Lunenburg and Gilman need significant air and ventilation renovations. Up until now we have been able to complete some of this work and operate outdoor classrooms or indoor schooling with open windows and fans. We have unfortunately come to a point when we can no longer do this.”
“We have procured both engineers and contractors to complete this ventilation work, however the final push for the work involves too much noise, exposure, and disturbance for students during the school day,” McVetty stated in the letters home.
The remote learning for the Lunenburg/Gilman students will begin this coming Monday, Nov. 23, and run until Dec. 4, the letter stated.
“We will be returning to in-person school on Monday, Dec. 7th,” McVetty advised, adding, “Please refer to the remote schedule that will be sent home (today) Friday, November 20th. Look for this in your child’s backpack.”
The letters state, “For those of you who filled out the survey and communicated that you have limited access to the internet, we are hoping to get Mobile Hotspots for you. Look for packets of work for your child to complete on Monday and Tuesday. We will notify you before Monday, Nov. 30th if we are successful in obtaining the Hotspots.”
“During the week of remote learning, meals will be available at the Lunenburg School from 8-10 a.m. and from 3:30-5:30 p.m. You only need to come either in the morning or afternoon, breakfast and lunch will be served together,” the letters to Gilman and Lunenburg families continued. “Parents should swing by the school to pick up meals at the kitchen door. Meals will not be available on Nov. 25th - Nov. 27th due to the holiday break. Those of you who filled out the survey and requested meals are already on the list. If you wish to be added to the list, please call Karl at 892-5969.”
According to McVetty’s letter, “Opening the schools up to the contractors will expedite the work and make the environment safer for all. By switching to remote learning during this period of time we are confident we can complete the necessary ventilation work in our school.”
“We are doing everything that we can to have a safe and healthy school environment that will limit the transmission of COVID-19. I am thankful to live and work in a community that is thoughtful, responsive and supportive. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions. We will all work together to support each other,” McVetty told families.
Botzojorns said a similar letter - with different dates, and from the Concord School principal, was likewise being sent home on Wednesday.