Dear SeDoMoCha Families:
I wanted to reach out now that we have some additional information about starting back in the fall. We were told last week that each school district will receive a color designation of red, yellow or green based on a few pieces of data which includes the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in your county. We will receive that designation on July 31 by the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) and then every two weeks the designation will be updated. We will not be making any decisions about what our programming will look like in the fall until we have that color designation.
MDOE has asked us to create plans for all three color designations. A green designation means that we will have as many students in the building that we can safely accommodate. A yellow designation means that we will be in a hybrid model so that 50% of the building is occupied at one time. A red designation means that all learning will be remote. Below is a chart overview of what will happen at SeDoMoCha based on our designation. We have shared each of these plans with our staff, a parent think tank group and finally the RSU 68 School Board. The school board has given us initial informal approval to move forward with our planning.
To be able to keep class sizes small (15-16 students), we will need to create additional learning environments for students in grades 1, 2, 4 and 5. We will be advertising for these positions beginning today. We are also planning to have a virtual Open House on Wednesday, September 2, so that students and families can meet teachers and see their rooms. Classes will begin on September 3.
We have been working on safety measures at SeDoMoCha. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been ordered and MDOE is going to provide us with some as well. Students will need to wear masks/gaiters/face shields unless we have a medical note saying that the student can’t wear any of these choices. We plan to provide two face coverings per student; however, parents are free to provide masks/gaiters/face shields for their child to wear. We have also worked on making sure social distancing will happen in the classrooms. Elementary students will be in desks, middle school students will have tables and we also have some plexiglass dividers for teachers to use with students when working in small groups. The custodians have been working so hard to make sure the building is cleaned and all of the safety features are ready to go.
The parent survey has been closed and we are pleased that we had 268 families participate. 84% of families shared that they would be willing to send their children back to school. We will provide remote learning for students that have to quarantine or for those that have documented needs or requirements. 65% of the families that responded also offered to transport their children. This will be especially important if we are a green designation because we can only have 24 students on a bus.
I would like to say thank you to a few groups. Our administrative team, including our administrative assistants, has worked tirelessly to think about scheduling for the building, students on the buses, ordering and checking on supplies and brainstorming spaces. Our staff who have been so flexible in thinking about how to deliver instruction to their students. They have positive attitudes and want to safely be back to school. The school board has been very supportive as we create plans and work through all of the changes that keep coming. And to the families and community, who voted on the budget and support us as we try to implement MDOE and CDC guidelines, please know how much it is appreciated. I feel very lucky to work in such a supportive, caring community.
Watch the website and the SeDoMoCha app to find out our color designation on July 31.
Yours in education,
Stacy Shorey, Superintendent of Schools