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COVID-19 Update
Roberta Hersom
Sunday, March 15, 2020

March 15, 2020

 Dear Parents, Guardians, Students and Staff,

I am writing to let you know that in response to guidance provided over the weekend specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in consultation with regional superintendents, we have decided to close all of our schools for two weeks beginning on Monday, March 16 and lasting until Friday, March 27. This closure is a proactive measure designed to allow staff to meet and plan, and to allow additional time to receive guidance.  This school closure applies to all MSAD 49 school facilities.

 As you know, this has been a rapidly evolving situation.  While we are not aware of cases reported in the MSAD 49 communities, medical experts have provided detailed guidance about the need to take this proactive measure of closing our schools.  After extensive conversations with area superintendents, the Maine Department of Education and other school district officials, we have determined that this closure is the only responsible action to take at this time.   

This decision has been made with careful consideration of the options. We are aware of the fact that closing schools will be a hardship for all families.  While our team has been working diligently to prepare for school closings, the rapidly changing nature of this situation has not allowed adequate time for us to provide alternate forms of education and nutrition this week.  We intend to provide updated guidance on timing of these services in the upcoming days.

 On Monday of this week, all MSAD 49 instructional staff will be in school.  During this time, we will finalize plans that began last week to develop resources to provide students with learning opportunities that can be accessed at home.  Additionally, we are working with our food-services program to develop a plan for community distribution of meals.  Starting Tuesday, each school’s Main Office, the District’s Business Office, Transportation Office, Central Office and Adult Education Office will operate with essential staff but will be closed to the public unless otherwise notified.  We will make information available to our families in the upcoming week regarding a plan for meal distribution in our communities.  We will provide updates on our website as it is released at: https://www.msad49.org.   

It is possible that this closure will extend beyond the current projected timeline. It is important that all families practice social distancing during this time and continue with the CDC recommendation of a frequent handwashing regimen.

Please know that we do not take this action lightly—we continue with our effort to minimize the risk and prevent the spread of this illness. We will provide updated information on our website and will continue to provide district notices as further information is available. 


Sincerely,

Roberta Hersom

MSAD 49 Interim Superintendent of Schools




Some Additional Resources:

National Association of School Psychologists & National Association of School Nurses letter on talking to kids about Coronavirus

Center for Disease Control and Prevention webpage on talking to kids about Coronavirus 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Pamphlet on talking to kids about disease outbreaks

What is Social Distancing and How Can It Prevent the Spread of COVID-19?     

Social Distancing: This is not a Snow Day