IMPORTANT UPDATE

August 21, 2020

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Dear Parents and Guardians,


Last Friday, the Maine DOE announced Maine remains green according to its Health Advisory System rating (red, yellow, green) which is updated every two weeks. Should the advisory change to yellow, it may not change much for our district based on our current plan; therefore, we continue to move forward with the myriad of tasks associated with the hybrid model and remote instruction.


TEACHER/STUDENT ASSIGNMENTS AND SUPPLIES

We know parents are anxious to learn who will be their child(ren)’s teacher, which cohort their high school students will be assigned, and what school supplies they will need. Our goal is to assign students to teachers once so we can maintain some stability; however, we know there could be changes due to accommodations, schedules, etc. Over the last week, the staff has been reaching out to many of our families to determine their choice of remote or hybrid to finalize placement and administrators have been interviewing, hiring, and onboarding new staff, including remote instruction teachers and student teachers to assist. As soon as these details are more concrete, principals will reach out to parents with assignments and high school cohorts. Currently, we believe this information should reach families by next Friday.


In regards to supply lists, we have ordered basic supplies to get through the month of September and we expect the lists to be minimal compared to past years with decreased items in the classrooms and no use of lockers. Next week, over 100 Biddeford teachers will be packing and moving classrooms and/or buildings to accommodate the reduced class size and minimize clutter so please be patient with teachers as they may prefer to provide a supply list once school starts. The first week of school will mostly be spent becoming acclimated with the new processes and adjusting for improvements, focusing on students’ transition back to school and their social-emotional needs, and determining technology needs for distribution in both Biddeford and Dayton.


PARENT Q&A NIGHTS (VIA ZOOM)

Principals have scheduled the below webinar meetings to talk with parents about what to expect when their child(ren) return to school. Parents will also have the opportunity to ask questions. Below are the Zoom meeting links for the meetings based on your child’s grade:

  • DAYTON - Grades PreK-5: Monday, August 24th (6-7pm)

  • BIDDEFORD - Grades PreK-5: Tuesday, August 25th (4-5pm)

  • BIDDEFORD Grades 6-8: Tuesday, August 25th (5-6 pm)

  • BIDDEFORD Grades 9-12 & Center of Technology: Wednesday, August 26th (6-7pm)

  • Biddeford Regional Center of Technology*: Thursday, August 27th (5-6pm)

    • *COT will also be available at Grades 9-12 webinar above for parent convenience. This webinar is provided to be inclusive of four sending schools.

    • https://zoom.us/j/92132524546 or call 1-301-715-8592

    • Webinar ID: 921 3252 4546


RETURN TO SCHOOL VIDEO & VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSES

Principals are currently working to offer individual in-person tours, dependent on time and staff availability, for students who may be entering a new school. We understand this can be anxious for many students and their parents so we want to ease those fears and limit any barriers to a successful return to school. To that end, we have prepared a return to school video to help students learn of the new expectations and virtual tours of each building:



PARENT TECHNOLOGY BOOTCAMP

Last week, the Biddeford School Department hosted a Back-to-Digital-School Parent Technology Bootcamp to provide parents with an educational foundation around the online learning platforms endorsed for Biddeford and Dayton. For those who were unable to attend, the recordings are below:


BIDDEFORD ATHLETICS UPDATE

As you have seen in a WMTW Channel 8 news release on Wednesday, the York and Cumberland County Superintendents made the decision to move the start date of all athletic activities from Monday, August 24th to Tuesday, September 8th to coincide with the start of the 2020-2021 school year. The superintendents based their decision on concerns of a potential COVID-19 outbreak and the impact it would have on the start of in-person instruction this academic school year. It was also determined that athletic activities should not begin prior to a final decision from the Maine Principals’ Association on the status of the fall season. In the interim, the athletic department is developing Return to Play Guidelines, working toward creative solutions, and exploring other possibilities for students to remain engaged.


PARENT PORTAL

It is very important for parents to stay connected to the school. If you have not yet set-up your Infinite Campus Parent Portal or need to make any edits to your information, please do so by clicking on the links below. Step-by-step instructions (apply to both Biddeford and Dayton) are available by clicking here.


STUDENT RETURN TO SCHOOL GUIDELINES

All families and students will be required to adhere to the Student Return to School Guidelines based on requirements in the Framework for Returning to Classroom Instruction by the Maine DOE and endorsed by the School Committee. These guidelines are in place in an effort to protect the health of all students, staff, and the larger community. Please review them with your child(ren) before school begins, ask any questions via the avenues below, and have younger children practice wearing a mask for short periods of time through August so they are more prepared when school begins.


As always, please seek out our official communications tools (District website and Facebook Page) and ask questions if you need clarification. Many of the questions may have already been answered on the Frequently Asked Questions document on our website.


We welcome your feedback and encourage parents and guardians to direct any questions to closurequestions@biddefordschools.me or use our special closure hotline at 207-391-6868.


Stay Well,

Jeremy Ray

Superintendent of Schools

Biddeford Schools - Returning to School

Social-Emotional Well-Being

Fear, anxiety, grief, sense of loss, and stress are natural reactions to a situation like the one in which we are currently living, especially when much is unknown, routines have changed drastically, social interaction is happening differently, and events that were eagerly anticipated may likely not happen. It is normal for children and adults to experience strong emotions and/or to have difficulty managing those emotions.


Here are some tips to help yourselves and your children manage emotional well-being:

  • Exercise and get fresh air regularly—doing these simple things helps the human body to manage emotions more productively.

  • Encourage play and family activity time.

  • Practice mindfulness activities and daily social-emotional challenges.

  • Seek out mental health resources for adults and children.


Check out these tools for building emotional well-being:

Biddeford School Committee Meeting

Tuesday, Aug. 25th, 7pm

This is an online event.

Agenda to follow - click here.


Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://zoom.us/j/92126259425?pwd=aS9OL215MFVJTEVHUWZZUE9kNDJrQT09

or call 1-312-626-6799 or 1-646-558-8656

Webinar ID: 921 2625 9425

Passcode: 784262