Letter from Superintendent - August 27, 2021

To the Parents, Guardians, and Students of Oxford Hills,

 

Welcome to School Year 2021-2022! It is my honor and privilege to serve as your new Superintendent of Schools. This letter is a general welcome and some equally general information, and you will receive more specific notice from your school principals. I am delighted to welcome our returning families as well as many new families to our wonderful school system. I have been to all eight of your lovely towns and visited each of the school buildings. I feel lucky to be in Oxford Hills, and I hope that our students will feel just as lucky.

 

I look forward to meeting you face-to-face this year, and I plan to work in a different school every Tuesday, as well as attend some of the Town Board of Selectmen meetings. You can also meet me at the Board of Directors meetings at the Central Office, schedule here. I also host a broadcast on Fridays, which will become monthly once school has opened. You can mail questions to me at m.henson@msad17.org, and I’ll answer them in the broadcast and post the Q & A in its entirety on the Superintendent’s YouTube Channel.

 

Our number one priority is the safety and security of our students and staff. During this time of continuing to cope with COVID-19, our district is following the public health guidance of the United States and Maine Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the District Physician, and the lead School Nurse. Our Reopening Plan is available here and on the district website. We will employ a universal indoor masking policy, pooled testing, and social distancing strategies as part of a layered approach to prevention of virus transmission. (The mask policy is the last sentence of the second paragraph on Page 2.) The combination of pooled testing and universal indoor masking are powerful factors in our ability to limit quarantines as much as possible to only the student or staff member who tests positive, rather than sending entire classrooms, grade levels, or whole schools home for ten days at a time. Specific pooled testing information will be issued in mid-September when our new COVID Nurse is on board. 

 

Some important general information for you:

 

  • Each family using the school bus system should register here if you did not use the same stop last year so that we can plan bus routes efficiently.
  • We do not currently have any substitute bus drivers. In the event that a driver is out sick, the Transportation Department will notify families as soon as possible so parents and guardians can be prepared to provide parent drop-off and pick-up.
  • Due to enrollment increases in some grade levels, we are making some assignments in nearby towns rather than in the closest neighborhood school. This is in order to keep class sizes from getting out of hand. We are working to ensure that no child has to ride a school bus more than one hour one way.
  • Beginning September 1, 2021, no child will be permitted to attend school without evidence of immunization or proof of immunity against disease.  Philosophical and religious exemptions have been removed. Students enrolled in PreK through 12 are to be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, polio and varicella.  Additionally, all students enrolled in grades 7-12 must be immunized against meningococcal disease. Your School Nurse can assist if your child’s immunizations are not up to date.
  • Oxford Hills School District will be a bully-free zone, effective immediately. In cases of bullying, the Superintendent will monitor situations that are not being resolved at the school level and guide the process if necessary. Parents and guardians, please have your child follow the appropriate chain of communication (talk to the teacher or bus driver, parent talk to the principal if the situation isn’t resolved), but if that doesn’t put an end to it right away, reach out directly to me at m.henson@msad17.org.

 

Please consider joining your school’s Parent-Teacher Organization, and you are always welcome to attend the Board meetings and participate in public comment. You can follow us on social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Live broadcasts from the Facebook pages and Instagram will be downloaded and posted to the Superintendent’s YouTube Channel, so you don’t have to have a social media account to view the broadcasts. (All important school announcements will be sent via email and robocall, so social media is not necessary in order to receive school announcements.)

 

We are ready for a great year. We can’t wait to see you face-to-face. Welcome!

 

Dr. Henson  

Monica Henson, EdD  

Superintendent of Schools