COVID-19 Community Update #6 – March 26,2020

Pittsfield Families,

We are so grateful to our Pittsfield families and school staff for your work to continue to support our students’ learning in this very challenging time.  We hope that you are staying safe and healthy as we face a completely new set of challenges.

We would like to thank so many Pittsfield folks who have called school to offer assistance in a variety of ways.  The deeply held values of a community are evident in times of stress, and our Pittsfield values remain strong in our support of each other.

The latest district info:

Attendance.  PES homeroom teaches and PMHS advisors are taking attendance through daily check-ins with students.  Though not perfect, this system will allow us to keep as accurate an accounting of attendance as possible in this period.  This week, our absentee rate is a bit above the usual; families are reminded to be sure that a check-in will confirm that each student is engaging in learning activities.

Grades.  We have shifted our end of quarter schedule:  grades will close on Friday, April 10; grade reports and special education progress reports will be mailed home on Monday, April 20.

Internet Service.  The mobile hotspot devices have arrived and we are in the process of distributing those to families that requested one. If you did not sign up for a hotspot but are in need of one, please contact the school office. We have a limited supply of additional hotspots to loan out. Also, another option to consider is Atlantic Broadband’s offer for low cost internet service.

Learning Materials.  Some teachers are making additional learning materials available to students as we move forward; these materials are important for our students and their continued learning.  The district will make these materials available for pick-up from PES (for students of both schools) between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Thursday’s.  Materials not picked up on Thursday’s will be delivered via school bus during meal deliveries on Friday’s.

Meals.  The district has received permission to provide meals to all students.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily; in addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day with varied menus for each.  Families have been requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize contact.  Derek Hamilton is coordinating food deliveries; questions and requests should go to Derek.  Thanks to our outstanding food service staff!

Our PES and PMHS food pantries for those in need will continue to function during the period of remote learning.  Please contact Melissa Brown at 435-6701 or call either school office to arrange for service from our food pantries.

National Honor Society.  Acceptance letters have been sent out to qualifying students; congratulations to new NHS members!  Students who were not accepted have been provided with feedback that will strengthen a future application.  We are making plans for an induction ceremony, so stay tuned for that info.

New Hampshire Scholars. Unfortunately, we have been notified that this spring’s New Hampshire Scholars Day 2020 has been cancelled.

Passing Papers.  We have been advised by our state Department of Education, that the state’s Department of Health and Human Services has no problem with passing of papers to and from students by school officials.  The DHHS has also approved of food preparation and delivery practices.

Remote Learning Term.  At present, the state is directing remote learning to continue through Friday, April 3, which is considered a re-evaluation date.  We have been told that it is “highly likely” that remote learning will extend beyond April 3, possibly through the end of April or the end of the spring semester.  At the state level, a good deal of coordination among different agencies and departments is required; we’re hoping to receive info on a possible extension by early next week.

Resources.  Commissioner of Education Edelblut recommends two websites as resources for support:

Scholarships.  PMHS seniors are reminded to stay updated on opportunities through our scholarship folder.  The Foss Scholarship materials will soon be released; the open period for this scholarship opportunity will extend from March 30 through May 4.  Reminder that this scholarship is also open to PMHS grads who are attending a post-secondary institution; if you know of a grad who qualifies, you are respectfully requested to pass along this info.

School Board Meetings.  We are anticipating that the Board will meet in remote emergency session next Thursday, April 2.  We are working on logistics to ensure that the public will have access to the meeting and hope to provide more definitive information on Monday.

School and SAU Offices.  School and SAU offices are open only to visitors with appointments; please do not come into the school offices without a prior arrangement.  To minimize contacts, the PES office will remain open from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; the PMHS office is now closed (beginning Wednesday, March 25).  All calls will be routed through the PES office and forwarded as may be requested.

Special Education Services.  Services to students with special need will continue through the remote learning period; this includes para-educator support and related services for students who have such provisions in their IEP’s.

State Testing.  The Department of Education has not yet made a decision regarding the delay or cancellation of our annual spring testing regimen, although it has been announced at the federal level that this requirement will be waived for this spring’s testing.  The New Hampshire Department has not submitted a waiver request to the federal government at this time.

Student Led Conferences.  Student led conferences will, of course, be altered quite a bit this time around.  We are considering options and alternatives to our usual conference protocols and will let folks know more as this process develops.

Title I Services.  Thanks to our many families who quickly responded to our recent Title I survey.  If your child receives Title I support and you have not yet responded to the survey, you are respectfully requested to do so at your earliest convenience.

Finally, we wish you and your family all the best for good health.



John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations