New headmaster Tao Smith was introduced to selectmen at Mondays meeting. Smith first came to Gould as a sophomore in high school. submitted photo

BETHEL — Mondays board meeting started with Gould Academy’s new headmaster, Tao Smith, being introduced to town officials.

After providing some brief background information on himself, Smith quickly dove into Gould’s reopening plan for the upcoming school year.

Students will be returning in groups over a span of about five weeks, with international being the first to arrive back in about two weeks. Students traveling by plane anywhere in the U.S. will come next and then students who can drive to Gould from their home location will follow.

Smith said all students will have to have documented proof of a negative COVID-19 test, and follow all state guidelines regarding quarantine before returning to campus.

Once on campus, all students will be put into small groups to quarantine and will get another COVID test before officially opening the school.

Students will be wearing masks universally indoors and will wear them outside when they cannot maintain a distance of six feet apart.

“We’re going to restrict a lot of the campus. Students will not be allowed to go into town, we’ve got restrictions on our dorm and school buildings,” Smith said.

Gould has identified places on campus for quarantining purposes and has invested $2,000 into additional improvements to campus along with personal protective equipment.

The school also hired a fourth full-time nurse.

“We’ve looked at virtually every aspect of our program to figure out if there are adjustments that need to be made in light of COVID-19,” Smith said. “We want to make sure our campus is well protected. Our concern for the area is paramount.”

Smith, a Gould alumni, taught previously at Gould before going to Killington, VT to take a headmaster job at a small private school. Smith spent 19 years in Vermont before accepting the headmaster position at Gould earlier this year.

To learn more about Gould’s reopening plan people can use the link

In other news, selectmen agreed awarding the Boston Cane, given to a town’s oldest resident, to Arlene Harrington of East Bethel. Selectmen decided that the town should hold off on doing a formal presentation, given COVID-19.

Selectmen approved requesting a safety audit for a section of Route 2, going from Bethel Auto Sales to River View Resort.

Town Manager Loretta Powers said she was told by a traffic engineer the town should request a safety audit regarding the speed limit concern on Route 2, instead of requesting a speed limit change.

Town Clerk Christen Mason said residents can start requesting absentee ballots for the November election. Voters will not receive their ballots, however, until 30 days prior to the election.

Selectmen appointed Randy Autry to the Waster District as a trustee and also appointed Meryl Kelly to the planning board.

Selectmen approved sending the recently removed bricks from the Cole Block entrance to the Bethel Library. The library wants to have the bricks be part of their sidewalk and patio project they have planned.

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