As schools, town halls and municipal centers do business and education online these days, many are reporting success when it comes to keeping residents and students engaged with curriculum and the business of the town.

And most say it's uncharted territory for all involved.

Area communities are becoming more of a "virtual" setting for those needing to do car registrations, make payments, register dogs, or get information like vital records, and for other general questions or business.

Derry, Londonderry and Windham are offering many opportunities to do town business online. Towns are also offering makeshift drop-off boxes for residents to use at the municipal center and town offices, respectively. Derry also offers a drive-thru window at the side of the municipal center off Manning Street.

"Our intention is to operate to the greatest extent possible through electronic services, as most interactions and transactions for our residents can be done online or arranged via phone, or by email," according to a statement released by the town of Windham. "For those transactions that cannot be handled remotely, residents may call ahead to one of our offices who will be able to assist you either 'curb side' or by appointment with the appropriate town personnel to complete your transaction. Our staff will be working on-site, and in limited situations possibly remotely — but we will continue to be at your service."

Windham Town Clerk Nicole Bottai is working at the Town Hall and all staff on site are making sure to practice safety and distancing when doing the work of the town, wearing gloves, washing hands often and navigating this new reality.

"We are in uncharted territory," Bottai said. "We are all in the same boat."

Bottai said Windham is doing a lot of town business through online resources, like car registrations, renewals and other town business.

Town Hall hours have been modified as part of the current challenges, but Bottai's goal is to make sure business is handled the best way possible. That includes finding new ways to do things.

"We are trying to take a look at every scenario possible," she said, adding a lot of online work has already been in place, but to keep residents safe, putting new measures in place can also help.

That includes a drop-box option at the Town Hall, Bottai said.

"Whatever we can do," she said. "It evolves every day."   

With schools closed, many educators are finding creative ways to keep thousands of students on track while away from the classroom.

That includes Londonderry High music teacher Danielle Loschiavo, taking on remote learning with a mission to keep her students online and in tune with music during trying times.

She posts lessons in Google Classroom daily and gives students a learning and practice log for piano and choir.

"One of the things I told them was to sing and play for 15 minutes a day," Loschiavo said, "and listen to one song a day. I really do not care what it is as long as it makes them happy."

Loschiavo also plays the keyboard and shares video/computer sound for students so they can sing at home. There is also an "open mic" planned with choir students, and Spirit Week clothing choices.

"We're doing our best to make this suboptimal situation work, but it's been better than I thought it would be," she said. "I miss my kids as well as singing with the choir and harmony."

At Pinkerton Academy in Derry, Headmaster Timothy Powers offered a video message to students and families via the school's website and also said in a recent statement that the remote learning process is intended to make sure the educational process remains ongoing.

"While this is not the educational experience that anyone anticipated undertaking this academic year, we will strive to continue to work together with everyone to meet the educational needs of our students," Power said in a statement. "As we all know, this remote learning experience is how we are going to engage in learning over the upcoming weeks."

Powers added the intent is to model the normal classroom experience as closely as possible to make sure continuity of a course's curriculum continues.

That means students will also use their learning and knowledge in different situations during this time. Teachers and staff will also remain available for students for chats, video/audio conferencing, Google Classroom, and email, Powers said.

Other school superintendents are remaining in contact with families through online statements and emails.

Derry school Superintendent MaryAnn Connors-Krikorian said in a statement that she knows the current emergency measures are causing disruptions to students, families, employers and the collective community.

"Your flexibility, patience and understanding during this challenging time in which conditions are emerging and evolving are sincerely appreciated," Connors-Krikorian said. "As a school district, we will remain vigilant and in communication on a continuous basis."

Londonderry Superintendent Scott Laliberte echoed that sentiment, saying learning will continue, despite the challenges.

"I am confidant that our staff and families will make the best of a difficult situation," he said. 

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