Coronavirus & School Re-opening Information

This webpage will serve as a repository for any Coronavirus related communications from the district to the community.

 

For those unable to access the documents listed above - the letter from July 24 is reproduced below:

 

 

To: Parents and Students of the Oxford Hills School District

From: Superintendent Colpitts

Date: Friday, July 24, 2020

Subject: School Reopening

Dear Parents and Students,

There has been much speculation and some anxiety expressed about the reopening of school this fall.  I appreciate and share those concerns.  We know the best opportunities we can provide for student learning is to be able to provide in-classroom instruction.  We also know from experts in the field of science that reopening for in-classroom instruction during a pandemic poses certain risks.  A balance of best instructional practice and measured safety must be considered.

The Department of Education (DOE) and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (MCDC) are reviewing the data from our eight towns to examine the level of community spread of COVID 19.  Their conclusion is expected to be shared with the District on July 31, 2020 and will determine the level of “in person” instruction MSAD 17 will be able to provide.   If there is “Low or No Community Spread” we will be able to open for in-classroom learning as long as  we are able to follow certain state guidelines. If there is “Moderate Community Spread” we must examine options for a hybrid of both remote and in-classroom learning.  If there is “High Community Spread” we will need to move to remote learning.

We anticipate that our District will have a low community spread and will therefore be able to open for in-person learning.  The DOE and MCDC will monitor the community spread in our District throughout the year so their designation at any point in time requires the District to have plans to provide learning in any of the three scenarios at any time.   

Parent Choice: In-classroom or Remote Learning

What are the conditions required for schools to reopen for in person learning? Governor Janet Mills announced last Friday a series of steps her Administration is taking to assist and support school systems across Maine as they consider whether and how to return to in-classroom instruction this fall. Each of these actions aims to provide essential support to promote a safe return for children, teachers, and school staff.

To that end, all schools must follow required guidelines if they decide to return to in-classroom instruction to ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff.  The guidelines for in-classroom learning includes the following:

·   symptom screening before coming to school

·   physical distancing

·   wear masks/face coverings

·   hand washing/sanitizing

· 

A more detailed outline of the Governor’s requirement may be found here or on the District’s web page.

 

A detailed outline on how these regulations will be implemented in SAD 17 may be found here or on the district’s web page.

Family Survey Results

We appreciate the more than 1500 parents who completed the District survey over the last three weeks.  A summary of the survey may be found on the District’s web page or here. We know from that survey that not every parent will agree with these rules but the District has no choice but to implement them.  Students attending in-classroom learning will be expected to abide by these guidelines.  We also learned from that survey that there are some parents who will not be comfortable sending students back even with these precautions.  For parents and students unwilling to follow in-classroom learning guidelines or who are uncomfortable returning to school during the pandemic we will offer the option of participating in a robust remote learning program. 

Remote Learning Option for Families

The District’s remote learning option is not what students experienced this spring.  Participants who choose this option will be expected to:

  • attend daily classes online 

  • submit assignments

  • participate in all individual conference sessions

  • pick up required materials

  • have reliable internet access (packets will not be provided)

Students participating in remote learning will be graded and, at the high school level, earn credit towards graduation.  Families who choose this option should know that teachers providing remote learning may not be the same teachers assigned to the local school your child may have attended in person.  Please read the Remote Learning Information for Parents to find out more specific details about remote learning.

Students participating in remote learning are able to participate in the district’s food service program.  Three days of meals for each remote learning student may be picked up at one time,  twice a week during designated times at each school.  

 

Transportation

Transportation remains a challenge for MSAD 17.  The size of the district, length of bus runs and limited number of available buses and drivers means that distancing students on buses will be impossible. Students riding the bus will be expected to:

  • wear a mask

  • sit with household members on the bus

  • use hand sanitizer getting on and off the bus 

Students will only be allowed to be picked up and dropped off at the stop registered by the parent at the beginning of the school year.  Students won’t be permitted to travel to other student’s homes or be dropped off at any other stop. We know that many parents may be uncomfortable with bus transportation under the circumstances. About half of the surveyed parents indicated a willingness or ability to transport their own child/children to and from school.  If parents who are able and willing to transport their own children to school do so, the District will be better able to provide appropriate distancing on buses for those who are unable to transport their children.  

Parents will be asked to indicate their choice of transportation and commit to it for the quarter or trimester.  We will assume that parents who have not registered their children to take the bus will be transported to and from school by a guardian and will not be included in a scheduled bus run for the quarter or trimester unless they contact the bus garage to indicate a change. 

We desperately want to return to school as normal.  Under the circumstances, with the guidelines developed and mandated, the District is providing parents a voice in determining how their child/children will receive education this fall. 

 

Required Enrollment for All Students 

Parents must register their child/or children for either in-classroom instruction and transportation or remote instruction by July 31st. Please click on this link to complete the registration:  MSAD#17 Registration Form.  Once a selection has been made the student will be expected to work in that mode for the full quarter (grades 7-12) or trimester (Prek-6).  Parents may elect an alternative mode at the end of each quarter for high school or trimester for elementary.

We expect parents to express their choice by completing an “enrollment form” prior to July 31.  The enrollment may be completed online or by calling 743-8972 extension 8261 next week.  We need this information in order to allocate resources to meet parent preferences.

We want to be transparent and have provided district plans, guidelines from the DOE and a copy of the Governor’s requirements for reopening on the District web page.  These documents may also be found by selecting any of the below links.

We continue to work on plans for both in-classroom and remote learning and will provide opportunities for the community to review them as they are finalized after the Board approves them on August 17th.  We will also provide an update once the MCDC has made a determination about the level of community spread in our communities.  We thank you for your continued patience and support as we navigate this through this difficult period.  

Links embedded in the letter:

MSAD#17 Registration Form (2020)

MSAD#17 School Re-Entry Plan For Operations

MSAD#17 Remote Learning Information for parents

MSAD#17 reopening school family survey results

Maine DOE Framework for Returning to Classroom Instruction

Maine DOE K-12 Minimum Requirements