Fall 2020 Planning Update

July 7, 2020

Dear Parents, Guardians, Students and Staff,

First, I hope this message finds you all well. Though this virus has certainly had an impact on our daily lives, our beautiful Maine summer weather is certainly familiar, and maybe newly appreciated!  

I wish to thank our families for your partnership this spring during the closure of our school buildings.  We recognize that remote learning was new to all of us, and that your attention, persistence and support was a tremendous help, and also a tremendous responsibility during this unpredictable, and likely stressful time.

Thank you to our students for your work through this time—we know that a school experience is so much more than what we were able to provide to you.  We truly miss you all, and look forward welcoming you back to school. Congratulations to our graduates—you are resilient and capable of great and wonderful things!  Best wishes for your future success.

Thank you to our staff who have done remarkable work in very trying circumstances.  In mid-June, our teachers and educational technicians participated in training that has better prepared us for this next school year. Support staff  are readying our buildings for the new school year, and food service staff are continuing to feed our children and families.

We are working on plans for a reopening of our schools—though the Governor and the Maine DOE will provide guidance about when buildings may reopen, we are planning for several scenarios, including a full return, continued remote learning, or modified days and schedules. While the Maine DOE has released a Framework for safe return to in-person instruction, this plan is also in draft state, and is expected to evolve as we approach August. The MDOE has also developed surveys for families, employees, and others associated with the operation of schools.  I encourage you to participate— MDOE fall2020survey.

As we enter Stage 3 of Governor Mills' plan to reopen Maine’s economy, much may change in these months of July & August.  Hopefully, a positive trend that will lead us to opening schools. I have scheduled meetings this month to review and revise our Emergency Operations Plan.   We have filed our Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF) Application that reflects work needed to complete the essential modifications in buildings, supplies, and staffing needs that will allow for a return to schools. Our nurses and other staff have prepared recommendations for a future reopening, including establishing health and safety protocols. We also know that we need to educate our employees, our students and our families on new procedures that will help us return safely.

In addition to changes to school buildings, another consideration is transportation—current social distancing guidance presents some challenges that we are attempting to address.  We are interested in hearing from families about their intentions—please take a moment to complete a brief survey regarding the re-opening of our buildings. As we plan for possible scenarios, your feedback will help us with our planning.

Please complete a survey for each building in which you have students enrolled by JULY 12— thank you for your assistance.

Albion Elementary School Return to School Survey

Benton Elementary School Return to School Survey 

Clinton Elementary School Return to School Survey

Fairfield Primary School Return to School Survey

Lawrence Junior High Return to School Survey

Lawrence High School Return to School Survey

We fully recognize the challenges that school closure, or any changes to a typical school routine, create for families. Please know that it is our goal to reopen our buildings to as many students as possible—a safe return for all is our priority. I look forward to welcoming our students back to our schools!

Stay safe and be well.

Roberta Hersom

MSAD 49 Superintendent of Schools