October 3, 2019
Dear Parents,
I am writing to update you concerning the recent fire that occurred at the Paris Elementary School on October 1, 2019.  The fire Marshal has established that two fires were set by an 11-year-old female student.  The student has been charged with two counts of arson and is now subject to court and school district discipline.  The student is a minor and subject to state and federal privacy laws.  The district cannot disclose any further information about the student. 
There is significant smoke damage to the 5/6 grade floor. We anticipate that the remediation will take longer than originally anticipated, perhaps extending beyond next week. We will not reopen the 5/6 grade floor until the remediation process and testing is complete.  There is minor smoke damage in the grade 3 and 4 classroom wing.  We anticipate that these spaces will be available for student use by Monday, October 7th.  There was no damage to the rest of the facility.  We can’t reopen the facility until the 3 and 4 grade wing is cleaned by a professional cleaning contractor.  Contractors started the clean-up process the day of the fire and will be working through the weekend to help us ready the facility for reopening.  There will be no school October 3rd or 4th.
Our current plan is to reopen the Paris Elementary School on Monday, October 7th to grades Prek-6.  Students in grades Prek- grade 4 will remain at the school and participate in their normal school routines.  Grade 5-6 students will come to the Paris school but be transported to an alternative site for the day.
We have strong partnerships with two associated organizations who have agreed to help us.   The Bryant Pond 4-H Camp and Learning Center and the Western Maine Land Trust where the district operates the Roberts Farm school program have agreed to offer programming to our fifth and sixth grade students during the week of October 7-10.   Fifth and Sixth grade students will come to school using their normal transportation.  After they arrive they will board buses with their teachers.  Sixth grade students will be taken to the Bryant Pond 4-H camp where they will engage in some outdoor educational experiences.  Fifth grade students will be taken to Roberts Farm in Norway where they also will engage in outdoor learning activities.  Students will return to Paris Elementary in time for their regular dismissal.  Fifth and Sixth Grade students should dress appropriately for outdoor activities.
Student belongings stored in lockers may have been subjected to smoke.  All student possessions have been placed in plastic bags and placed in the Paris Elementary gym for parents to pick up.  Back packs may be picked up between 8-3 and 5-7 pm on Thursday, October 3 and between 8-3 Friday, October 4 in the Paris School gym.  We encourage parents to inspect the items in the bags to determine how the items should be cleaned.  
Picture Day which was rescheduled for Tuesday, October 8th will need to be rescheduled once again. We will work with Trish Logan to find a day to have pictures done once we are able to have all of our students back in the school together. We will continue to hold onto any packets or money that has been turned in.
While we are all saddened by this act of arson, we celebrate the resilience of our school staff and the community.  We very much appreciate the assistance of our local fire and police officials for their efforts to ensure students and staff were safe and to take precautions to limit damage. Their response to the alarm was swift and effective.  We thank the Paris Elementary staff for their professional response that allowed the safe evacuation of students.  We look forward to welcoming students back to Paris Elementary in the near future. 
Rick Colpitts, Superintendent