COVID-19 update at LHS


Photo by Alp Okyar

Due to the pep rally being canceled last Friday, Spirit Week has been extended.

Classrooms have had fewer students, some teachers are teaching from a screen, and it seems like an influx of staff and students are being put into quarantine. Yes, the numbers have been increasing at LHS these past few weeks, which has students asking questions. 

Before break, the Lancer Spirit staff sat down with Superintendent Laliberte and LHS principal Mr. Parent to find some answers.  

Why has LHS not gone fully remote?

Although the case numbers are increasing each day, the real decider of switching to remote is if there are enough staff members to teach. 

Parent and Laliberte are paying attention to the number of COVID-19 cases, making decisions each day. The opening of schools are based on the amount of faculty, and if there are enough teachers or administrators able to cover classes. 

“It’s really about the individuals, the staffing, can we carry out school and in person learning safely with what we have,” Parent said. 

The case numbers differ every day, meaning Parent and Laliberte treat each day differently. 

“We really have to take it case by case. Every morning we check in and look at the absences and if it’s starting to get close we put all hands on deck,” Laliberte said. 

Is there a specific number we have to get to? 

No, there is no number of cases needed to be reached for LHS to go remote. 

“There’s no formula or equation we follow,” Parent said. 

Administration and the school district puts safety over everything. They want students and staff to be able to attend school, but will not put any individual in danger. 

What are the expectations for students and staff who are quarantined?

With teachers or students at home, there is a constant worry about falling behind. The administration has given teachers the opportunity to run Google Meets during class time, in hope students will be able to stay up to date with work. 

However, this problem is still prominent and is being worked on by the district. Parent said that’s been “the biggest hurdle and challenge.”

“We are trying to be flexible and creative with anything we can; waving the attendance, incomplete if we need to, cutting down the amount of work that students have,” Parent said.  

Are there any new precautions in place as new strands of COVID-19 arrive in the US? 

The Londonderry school district has already made numerous changes to each school building to ensure the safety of students and staff. With that in mind, there are no other precautions or changes that can be made to take safety to the next level. 

“We get briefings from the state, public health department, and department of education; they’re saying that the precautions themselves really don’t do any different,” Laliberte said. 

Parent and Laliberte said they are continuing to work together on making LHS a safe environment for students and staff, but are also confused as to why cases are increasing. 

“It’s hard to guess why this is happening now, why are we seeing an increase,” Parent said. “Here in this building everyone does what they are supposed to do. We are taking the same safety precautions we’ve taken all along.”  

Even with these precautions in place, Parent still believes it is critical to send anyone home to quarantine who could have questionably been a close contact case. 

“We will quarantine anyone if there is any shred of a doubt,” Parent said.  “Why take the chance?” 

Laliberte and Parent both agree to take the safer route, and continue to push the idea that if it is necessary to go remote, LHS will do so. 

Is having administrators or other faculty sub for classes impacting their ability to do their job?

Due to contact tracing, more staff and students have been sent home, which means more substitute teachers are needed. At LHS, the lack of substitute teachers has forced administrators to sometimes substitute in classes. 

“We do it because we have to, and because you guys [students and faculty] are the most important part of the equation, so we have to make sure we take care of that first,” Laliberte said.  

Admin and other faculty subbing in place of teachers is not ideal, and raises concern that their jobs become unattended. However, Parent reassures that if it does become an issue, the school will take notice. 

“If it compromises our ability to really do our jobs or if we are leaving other things unattended that are critical, then it’s time,” Parent said. 

Is February break concerning the district? 

With the recent break, concern has been seen among the school. Students have traveled to go on college tours, others for vacation, and many wonder if everyone will be honest. 

Parent says the return from break has been surprising, as there have been no active cases in LHS this far. 

However, administrators have had to quarantine students who have had household contact or been found traveling outside of New England. 

Other students were sent into quarantine by administration because they either reported or were found to be traveling outside of New England over the break,” Parent said. 

Parent and Laliberte want students to make the right choices, as they affect the whole community. 

“We want you guys to stay here, to learn here, to come here if you can, but we have to do it safely,” Laliberte said.