March 16, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians:
Over the past 48 hours we have seen significant developments related to the COVID-19 virus both nationally and in Maine. Last night our Governor, Janet Mills, declared a state of Civil Emergency and is recommending that schools should close.
Consistent with guidance from the Maine Department of Education, our staff is preparing for remote and alternative learning activities to be implemented during the school closure. As part of our preparations, we have changed our school schedule for this week and for the next two weeks after. The staff in-service day scheduled for Friday March 20 was moved to Monday, March 16 and in addition to that we are having a workshop day on Tuesday March 17 as well. This will allow us to better plan for remote and alternative learning. Students will not be in school on March 16 or March 17. School will be back in session and students will be back to school on Wednesday, March 18. March 18 will be an early release day. School will be dismissed at 11:30. Students may retrieve any personnel belongings, medications, and to receive information related to our efforts to provide remote and distance education while school facilities are closed. At this time our staff will be explaining to our students how their remote learning will take place. A letter explaining this to parents will also be sent home with students and posted on our website and Facebook pages. We certainly respect each family’s decision to attend or not attend on Wednesday. Please communicate with your child’s school. In addition to this we will be closing schools from March 19th through April 3rd with the hope that we will return to school on Monday, April 6th. Further details will be posted on our website, Facebook, and sent home via a letter.
We are planning for remote delivery and access to school breakfast/lunches for our students. Further details will be forthcoming.
Consistent with Governor Mills’ recommendation to cancel large-scale, non-essential indoor activities for the next 30 days, we will be cancelling all such school-sponsored events which meet that criteria and all events scheduled to be held at MSAD #37 schools under our facility usage policy. This includes all after-school activities (such as pee-wee games, practices, tournaments, EdGE, etc.) until further notice.
Consistent with Governor Mills’ recommendation to cancel non-essential out-of-state travel for state employees, we will be cancelling all non-essential staff and student out-of-district travel until further notice. We also will not bring in any people from outside our district nor will we travel to any areas outside of our district for any school related events or activities until further notice.
Please accept my apologies for the short notice regarding these changes. Please also understand the changes are necessary to afford our staff as much time as possible to complete the necessary planning and preparations.
Students who are ill or immuno-compromised – fever, dry cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath—should stay home from school. Any student who is exhibiting symptoms consistent with influenza or COVID-19 should stay home until they have been fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medication for at least 24 hours.
We also request that families and staff notify their Principal if they have traveled to countries that have a CDC alert or warning-level health notice or who have been in contact with someone who has. We will work with families to plan for their students return to school.
Moving forward, we will continue to monitor this situation as it evolves through information and guidance provided by the Maine CDC and the Maine Department of Education. We will continue to provide information either through communications like this letter or through our website, Facebook page, and our alert system. We also encourage you to stay informed on the COVID-19 situation by reviewing links on the Maine CDC website.
Thank you for your patience, understanding, and cooperation as we work together through this difficult situation. Please know that the decision to close our schools was not taken lightly, and we do recognize the hardship the closure will put on our students, parents, staff, community members and the local community. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Ronald C. Ramsay, Superintendent of Schools