September 18, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I have heard from many parents and teachers that the first full week of school went well! We know there are areas for improvement, including transportation, self-assessment compliance, and remote academy expectations, and our team continues working tirelessly to meet students’ needs. Thank you to all our parents and guardians for assisting us in having a successful return to school amidst the increased cases in York County. Our students are very happy to be back in the schools with their peers, and we appreciate your positive encouragement and help in reducing their possible anxiety.
TRANSPORTATION: One of our major issues with transportation and having to limit the number of students on a bus among available bus runs is having students assigned to a seat that has not been riding the bus. This leaves parents frustrated as other students are without transportation.
PLEASE NOTE: If your child(ren) has NOT boarded the bus in FOUR (4) consecutive days--with the exception of mandatory quarantine or a call to the Transportation Office--their seat will be reassigned to a child without access.
DAILY COVID SCREENING: Parents must complete the daily COVID screening prior to putting their child(ren) on the bus or drop-off at schools. School nurses will follow-up with families directly and determine if testing/quarantine is recommended. We have been sending Instant Alert emails and texts each morning as a reminder and found this has helped compliance rates.
ADD ICON TO YOUR PHONE! There is an easy way to add the Screening Form as a direct icon on your phone’s home screen for easy access each morning. Step-by-step instructions are below and a video tutorial as well.
Open the link on your phone using Safari or Google: https://tinyurl.com/STUDENTCOVIDSCREENING
iPhone Users: Click on the box with an up arrow (bottom center)
Android Users: Click on the three dots (top)
Scroll and click on the "Add to Home Screen" option.
OUT OF STATE TRAVEL: There seems to be much confusion over returning to school following a trip out of state. Whether your family travels for a sporting event or a family visit, the student guidelines for Biddeford and Dayton read, “If a family travels outside of the state of Maine to one of the states NOT on the Governor's approved list for travel, the student must receive a negative COVID-19 test result OR quarantine for 14 days before being allowed back into school. If students participate in remote learning during the quarantine, those days will not be counted as absences.” Parents must check in with the school nurse prior to sending their child back to school.
“TWINDEMIC?”: Now it is more important than ever to consider receiving a flu vaccine for you and your child(ren). In a New York Times article last month, public health officials warned of a potential “twindemic” if we have a severe flu season leaving people more susceptible to COVID-19. This year we will provide a Drive-thru Flu Vaccine Clinic on October 1st from 5-7 PM at the Biddeford Middle School Bus Loop for all students, staff, and their families. If your child is unable to attend the Drive-thru clinic, the BSD will provide school-based clinics for students only, if necessary, on October 5th or 6th (Dayton dates and hours TBD). Please read the Vaccine Information Sheets and bring the completed Health Screen & Permission Form with you to the clinic. Printed copies will be sent home as well.
MASKS: It is imperative that individually we are all vigilant in attending to precautionary practices (handwashing, wearing a mask, social distancing, staying home when sick, etc.) to reduce the increase in cases in York County. All staff and students must wear a mask (face shield with a medical note only).
Please remember to send your child(ren) with a mask and be aware that gaiters, bandanas, and masks with valves are not acceptable face coverings (see image below).
We applaud Sanford High School athletes on their recent PSA encouraging their community to join them in following CDC guidelines to prevent further outbreak: Wear a Mask and Keep Your Six.
FLEX DAYS ON WEDNESDAY: The Flex Day allows us to practice a Remote Learning schedule where teachers and students log in, take attendance, and provide additional student support if needed. In addition, these Flex Days will allow staff meetings, collaborative work sessions, team or department meetings, professional learning communities, professional development, and additional cleaning. While connecting with students during these Flex Days is a great way to continue building our classroom communities, we realize that it can be a challenge for some families. Please note that students will not be marked absent if they are unable to attend.
REMOTE LEARNING ACADEMY (PreK-5): Our Biddeford & Dayton PreK-Grade 5 Remote Learning Academy has been busy! We have welcomed over 240 students to our new remote learning experience. Teachers have worked closely with families to get their district-issued devices ready to use. Thank you for your patience and support in this process. If you need additional technical support, please contact 207-391-6868 or email@example.com and a staff member will follow-up.
REMOTE LEARNERS (6-12): Our teachers in grades 6-12 have been crafting innovative lessons to meet the needs of our in-person learners and our 153 remote learners. As our teachers continue to meet the needs of all students, there will be challenges. Please reach out to the child’s teacher directly with any questions or concerns. If you need additional technical support, please contact 207-391-6868 or firstname.lastname@example.org and a staff member will follow-up.
We hope these communications are helpful; yet, understand there is a lot of information to digest so please continue to ask questions at email@example.com or by calling the school directly. We also have a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions document on our website at biddefordschools.me/health.
Superintendent of Schools