July 13 Parent Letter - Planning for 20-21 School Year

RSU63 Letterhead

July 13, 2020

Dear RSU 63 Parents,

As we plan for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, our goal is to have as many students as possible come to school for instruction and other activities as quickly as we safely can.   While we wish to return to our regular routines and procedures, we know we have to live and teach within the demands and constraints of the COVID-19 guidelines.  We anticipate COVID-19 conditions to change for our community and for individual students throughout the school year.  We are planning for three levels of instruction; Remote Instruction, Remote & At-School Instruction Hybrid, and At-School Instruction.   Please see the attached document outlining these three Instruction Levels.  We expect we will need to move back and forth between these levels during the school year as health and safety conditions require.

Using a Working Draft of the Maine Department of Education’s “Return to Classroom Instruction Framework,” we have formed several subcommittees.  These groups have begun working on plans for School Safety (physical health and safety considerations), Transportation, Screening (of our Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Students), Food Service, Technology, Teaching and Learning Expectations, Human Resources/Employment, Social and Emotional Well-Being, and Childcare.

Our community recognizes that childcare for school-aged children will likely be a great need.  Please know that area churches, childcare providers, and other organizations are working together to provide high-quality childcare options for you and your children.  We know our kids need safe, welcoming, and consistent places where adults support their education and social emotional development.  We are working on this – together as a community!  Please let me know if you have any suggestions or are interested in providing flexible, safe childcare.

We hope to have many details of our RSU 63 draft plans available to you on July 28th.  In early August, we anticipate the Maine Department of Education (DOE) and the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) will make a recommendation regarding the level of instruction we will be able to provide our students at the start of the school year.  Once we receive that recommendation, we will finalize our plans and share them with you as quickly as possible.  Our first day of school for students is scheduled to be Wednesday, August 26th.

As our RSU 63 subcommittees continue to work out the details for each level of instruction, we would greatly appreciate your input and feedback.  Please take about 10 minutes to share your preferences and concerns regarding safety, transportation, childcare, instruction, and extra-curricular activities by completing this survey by Monday, July 20th:

https://forms.gle/nCJbN15YVvTdhujy9

We value your perspective and will incorporate your feedback into our plans to the extent possible.  However, our decisions will be driven by the need to educate our students safely and follow guidelines from the DOE and CDC.

(Note: You may have filled out a similar survey for the Maine DOE or legislators.  The feedback to the DOE will be compiled by a research group and considered by the state team as they revise the Maine Framework over the next month. While the state surveys will provide a snapshot at the state and/or county levels, we need our own RSU 63-specific information to develop plans that will best meet your needs.)

Our hope is that Maine’s continued efforts to battle COVID-19 will allow our students to resume At-School Instruction for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.   However, while we are hoping for the best, we need to be prepared for many possible scenarios.

Sincerely,

Susan Smith, RSU 63 Superintendent of Schools

Draft RSU 63 Instructional Levels for 20-21