Coming Back to School: by Eve Brown-Ryder

(4-9-21) For the past few months, Memorial has been in a model of hybrid learning where students are separated into cohorts by last name. Cohort A students come into the building Monday and Tuesday, have a flex day Wednesday, and stay remote Thursday and Friday. Cohort B students stay remote Monday and Tuesday, have a flex day Wednesday, and come into the building Thursday and Friday. Cohort C students are those who have opted to stay remote Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and have a flex day Wednesday. 

Recently, the Manchester School District released a new plan that would take effect on May 1st. In this model, cohorts A and B would both come into the building Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday with a flex day Wednesday. Students would also have the option to join cohort C and stay remote. This plan was looking feasible and likely until April 1st when Governor Chris Sununu announced that all K-12 schools in New Hampshire are required to return to a full-time, five days a week, in-person schedule on April 19th

With all of these new developments, Memorial students are left to wonder “what does this mean for me?” According to Principal St. Onge, nothing is set in stone just yet.

“As far as the governor’s announcement,” Mr. St. Onge explained, “the district is… just waiting to hear what that means for Wednesday and what that means for April 19th, when [schools] could potentially be required to have students back… Whether it’s April 19th or May 3rd, we’ll have around fifty to fifty-five percent of the students in the building… I’m excited and curious to see what the atmosphere is when we have the cohorts combined.”

In the event that the district cannot negotiate the April 19th date, Wednesdays will have to become an in-person day. Currently, the schedule is split up nicely so that Mondays and Thursdays are the same and Tuesdays and Fridays are the same. The school is already looking at how the schedule can be reworked if Wednesdays become an issue and they just need a little more information before anything can be finalized.

Whether or not the Manchester School District is impacted by Governor Sununu’s announcement, Memorial continues to plan for the end of the year. According to Mr. St. Onge, the school is “trying to have as much normalcy [as possible] in terms of the events that take place; awards ceremonies, scholarship nights, National Honor Society induction… We’re trying to be able to have happiness and prom is a big piece of that.” He continued to say that, “I really wanna have the seniors experience as much as they can. Graduation is obviously the culminating event, so we want to make sure that goes well. Having the normal celebrations would be the big thing to end the year.”

Mr. St. Onge concluded with a reminder that just because there are changes, it does not mean the pandemic is over. “We still have to keep safety as the number one [priority]. We’re going to need to be wearing masks and… the best hygiene we can have, as well.”

UPDATE (4-25-21): When students return from April vacation on May 3rd, they will have the option to come back to school for five days every week or remain remote. Memorial will have red days (periods A-D/E) and blue days (periods F/G-J). The remaining weeks of this school year will alternate between Monday (red), Tuesday (blue), Wednesday (red), Thursday (blue), Friday (red), and Monday (blue), Tuesday (red), Wednesday (blue), Thursday (red), Friday (blue). More simply put, the schedule will go back and forth each day between red and blue, and whatever color any given Friday is, the following Monday will be the other color.

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