BETHEL — Monday, board members voted 8-6 against shifting to remote learning for two weeks following Christmas Vacation in order to keep the student body safer.

School Nurse Chris Cole made the suggestion of going remote for two weeks, with her main reason being the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s get-togethers, which she believes will happen despite public health officials advising against them.

Members Marcy Winslow (Woodstock), Jamie Hastings (Bethel), Stephanie Erickson (Newry), Erin Cooley (Greenwood), Danny Whitney (Bethel), Wendy Coffin (Woodstock), Tammy Goodwin (Greenwood) and Meredith Harrop (Newry) voted against the motion, while members Sarah DeCato (Bethel), Carol Everett (Bethel), Maggie Davis (Bethel), Stephanie Herbeck (Bethel), Martha McLean (Greenwood) and Sheryl Morgan (Woodstock) were in favor.

If the motion had passed, students would have returned to in-school instruction on January 19.

Discussion

“It’s my hope that two weeks of remote learning following the holiday break will be sufficient time to help avoid any transmission of COVID-19 that these holiday gatherings may pose,” Cole said via Zoom.

DeCato agreed with Cole, saying a two-week shift remote would work to the school’s advantage, especially if cases follow the same trend they did after Thanksgiving.

“It’s my firm belief that’s the best place for the kids to be is in school. They have the option to go remote if they so choose,” Whitney said.

Hastings echoed Whitney, saying school is the safest place for children to be.

Erickson said employees making hourly wages would be heavily impacted by no pay for two-weeks, another concern she had was for parents and finding childcare during the two-week period.

“We can go remote if we need too, but we should save our remote days to use when they are necessary. I don’t think we should shutdown based on presumptions,” Erickson said.

“I would take the additional two weeks to be extra safe so our kids can be in school more consistently after that two-week risk period following the holidays,” Davis said. ”

Winslow, who works as a nurse, said she has treated COVID patients who have been asymptomatic and patients who have been very ill, but said the common theme has been the “isolation factor.”

“I deal with a population of people where the depression has basically skyrocketed because they are not able to see loved-ones or interact with the people they are used to being around,” Winslow said.

DeCato also works as a nurse and thought the school would being do good by holding off returning immediately after break.

 

 

 

 

 

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