Reopening of Schools FAQ

We appreciate all the hard work and effort our staff have shown as we prepare to receive students for the first time since last March. We also appreciate the patience and understanding from our parents and community as we try to navigate what education can/should look like in these uncertain times. We recognized that this time of reopening has brought about many questions and concerns and we are hopeful that we have addressed most of these as we continue to finalize our plans. We ask that you please read through the 2020-2021 RSU 68 School Year Plan on our district website. These will be updated as new information comes from the CDC and the MDOE.

Here are some highlights:

On site Learning:
Students in grades Kindergarten through 5th grade will have the opportunity to participate in on site learning (in-person instruction) for four and a half days per week while our students in Grades 6-8 will be on site two days per week. Students in these grades will be grouped into two different cohorts. “A cohort” students will be onsite Monday and Tuesday and “B cohort” students will be onsite Thursday and Friday. In the event that we have a Monday holiday then we will have our “A cohort” attend on Tuesday and Wednesday that week. For the first two days of school in grades 6-8 we will have “A Cohort” students come on Thursday, Sept 3rd and then our “B Cohort” students come on Friday, Sept. 4th.

We also wanted you to be aware of the calendar changes for the upcoming school year. We have included the updated school calendar on our website. If you have a child in grades 6-8 you should have received a letter indicating what “cohort” they will be part of.

Monday Holidays: When we have a Monday holiday students in grades Kindergarten through 5th grade will have a full day on Wednesdays. Students in grades 6-8 A cohort will attend on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Remote Learning:
Remote learning will be offered to students with any health or safety concerns. Those students who will participate in remote learning this year will still be part of their onsite classroom community. They will have access to materials and assignments on virtual platforms such as Google Classroom and SeeSaw. Assignments for these learners may be posted on their grade level Google Site to start as we get our students and families connected with the specific platforms that will be used.

Arrival and Dismissal

Students will be allowed in the building at 7:30 a.m. Staff must be ready to greet these students in their learning spaces by 7:30 each day.

As a reminder staff and students will be required to enter the school through designated entrances. These entrances will have a thermal detector at each location. These will be located at the Maine Entrance, Elementary Playground Entrance and Middle School Playground Entrance/Bus Drop Off location. Students and staff will have their temperatures checked and will be asked to sanitize their hands before they continue to their learning spaces.

Car Drop Off:
Pre-K through 1st grade students will use left side of the Main Entrance
2nd through 4th grade students will use the right side of the Main Entrance
5th through 8th grade students will use the 7th/8th Grade Wing Front Entrance.

Bus Drop Off:
Students arriving on the bus will enter through the Middle School Playground Entrance

Dismissal:
In order to exit the building safely we will need to dismiss one elementary grade level and one middle school grade level at a time for car pick-ups as well as one bus at a time during our bus dismissal process.

For car pick-up we will dismiss:
1st and 8th grade followed by
Kindergarten and 7th grade,
2nd and 6th grade,
3rd and 5th grade,
4th grade will be last

Due to the time needed for this dismissal process we may need to start dismissing by 2:30 each day.

Mask/Face Shields: Students will be required to wear face coverings while they are in the building. We will have face masks available for students that do not have their own. The updated guidelines from the CDC does not allow face shields or gaiters as an approved face covering. Students will need to have a doctor’s note in order to wear face shields instead of masks. We will have times throughout the day where students will be able to take their masks off.

Limited access to the building: We will have limited access to the building at all times. Parents or community members will not have access to our buildings unless they have gained prior approval by the administration. If a parent or guardian needs to drop items off for their child during the day then they will leave them in bins located in our lobby and we will have the student called to the office to retrieve these items.
Recess/Playground Use: We will have scheduled times throughout the day for students to access outside learning and play areas. The playground will be available for our students during school hours only. We will be disinfecting all playground equipment before each group is allowed to access the playground area. We will also utilize field space in order to maintain appropriate social distancing so students can play without face coverings.

After School Activities and Athletics: The district has decided to cancel our athletic programing for this fall. We will be working on a more robust intramural program for our students and a hope to have opportunities for them to participate in these activities as soon as safely possible. More information will be forthcoming.

Transportation: Transportation has been determined based on individual responses on our district survey as well as communication with our contracted transportation services. Due to the limited amount of available space on our buses we will not be able to make transportation changes like we have in the past.

Virtual Open House/Google Sites:

Just a reminder that our Virtual Open House will be on Wednesday, Sept. 2nd from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. We will have links on our website for you to connect with your child’s classroom and virtually meet their teacher.

Breakfast/Lunch/Recess:

Students will eat both breakfast and lunch in their learning environments this year. Breakfast will be “Grab ‘n Go” as students enter the building in the morning. Our kitchen staff will set up these breakfast stations in multiple locations so students can easily grab their breakfast before heading to their learning space. Lunches will be delivered prior to the scheduled lunch times for each grade level. The early release (Wednesday) lunch schedule will be a “Grab ‘n’ Go” type meal as well. Students will be able to take them home with them if needed. Students will be able to bring snacks and lunches from home.

Safety Protocols and Procedures

Symptom Screening:
All staff and students will have to complete a symptom screening checklist before entering the building each day. Parents will need to sign off that they will complete this checklist each morning for their child. If a student answers yes to any of the questions then parents will keep the student home and contact the office.

Temperature Checks:
Each Staff and Student will need to have their temperature checked prior to entering their learning space each morning. Staff and students will walk through a Thermal Detector, which will be located either at the Main Entrance, Bus Drop Off Entrance (Middle School Playground), or 7th/8th Grade Wing Parking Lot Entrance. This is a change from our original plan!

Hand Washing/Sanitizing:
Each staff and student will sanitizer their hands as they enter the building in the morning. They will need to wash or sanitize before and after eating, using the bathroom and recess. All desks must be cleaned after eating. Each room will have cleaner and cloth wipes to clean individual devices. Students will also sanitize their hands prior to loading the buses in the afternoon. Specifics on these expectations will come during our staff meetings on the 31st.

Lockers/Locker Rooms:
Students in grades 5-8 will not be allowed to use lockers or have access to our locker rooms this year. Students can carry their belongings in their backpacks and have them in their learning space during the day. We will also have additional space for them to keep their belongings in their learning space each day.

We will be posting videos and additional information for families on our website starting the week of August 31st.

As always please reach out if you have any questions or concerns. We want to make sure we are as prepared as possible as we begin this journey together!

RSU 68 Reopening of Schools FAQ