March 12, 2020
Dear RSU57 Community,
I am writing to provide an update on our planning and preparations around Coronavirus. As noted through prior communications, we are working closely with public health professionals through the Maine CDC and Maine DOE to guide and advise our work. Both have been tremendously helpful and are providing updates and support on a daily basis as needed. We have also met with York County Emergency Management Agency, to ensure that we are coordinating closely with the County in order to be prepared.
The best way to receive alerts and information is to download Regional School Unit 57’s app. With the app, you can access sports, news, updates, emergency notifications, and other school-related information. Download the app on Android: http://bit.ly/3278HxW or iPhone: https://apple.co/2NqwkOu.
As I write this, on Thursday afternoon, we have been made aware of one known Coronavirus case in Maine, but public health officials note that it is a matter of time before additional cases are reported. We will continue to monitor closely and communicate as we have more information.
At the same time, we believe it is important to make plans for continuity of operations and most importantly, to take steps to ensure that students continue to learn. Over the past week, we have begun to gather ideas and resources to support this effort. In working closely with teachers, staff, and administration we are developing Continuous Learning Plans. While we cannot truly replace school, we can offer support to students and families to keep learning going.
More information to follow on this, but here a few highlights in the event of closure:
For K-5, we are developing home packets by grade level that will provide parents with student logins to online resources. We will be focusing on continued learning through teacher provided materials, the use of SeeSaw and/or Google Classroom, and email communication for sharing and communicating with families, which are already used by many teachers. The devices currently used in classrooms will be distributed to students.
For 6-12, we will be using Google Classroom for sharing instruction and will continue to use staff and student email. Students have had a good deal of practice using technology for learning and independently accessing online resources. Each student has an assigned device that would go home.
We have asked that all teachers make sure that their learning plans are up to date and readily available. We will work with teachers to ensure that everyone has access to resources for sharing learning activities with students.
Again, indications from public health officials are that school closures may be expected. We are working to be well prepared for the event of a school closure. If there are closures for any extended period we will work together, as we always do, to support our students and families. As a district we will also work to support our faculty and staff. We are working thoughtfully to support our community in uncertain times. We will offer clear guidelines as to how we will approach handling closures for different groups of staff, but please hear clearly that our aim is to support continuous learning for our students and our schools as well as to protect the health and welfare of our community.