IMPORTANT UPDATE

September 11, 2020

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Dear Parents and Guardians,


I echo our K-8 principals and staff when I say, “It was great to welcome back our students for the first time since March 13th!” Many so jubilantly jumped out of their cars and busses to greet their teachers and friends, and although it was disheartening not to visually see their smiles because of the masks, it was more important to see them back in school.


PLEASE NOTE: IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT ALL PARENTS AND STAFF DO THE FOLLOWING TO KEEP OUR STUDENTS IN SCHOOL AND OUR LARGER COMMUNITY SAFE AND HEALTHY:


  1. The COVID Self-Screening Assessment MUST be completed EVERY MORNING BEFORE 9am. Please remember this is a requirement so please do not send your child(ren) to school if this screening has not been taken.

  2. EVERYONE 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.


As I visited the buildings throughout the two days, I was so impressed by the sheer volume of everything we pulled together, including the transformation of our classrooms, bus lanes, mechanical systems, offices, and hallways to meet the guidelines for reopening and provide the best possible return for our students. The reduced number of students on the first couple of days allowed us to identify there are still some plans and logistical challenges--especially transportation--that we need to alter and improve. As we work to improve, I thank you for your patience and understanding and applaud our staff for their continued professionalism, care, flexibility, creativity, and positive attitude as we address each situation.


YORK COUNTY REMAINS YELLOW

Today the Maine DOE announced that York County remains designated as yellow according to its Health Advisory System rating (red, yellow, green). It is imperative that individually we each do what we can to prevent the recent outbreak from spreading to southern York County. We will follow all precautions and PreK-12 protocols from the Maine CDC to prevent community transmission and how to respond in the event of a known exposure in schools including isolation, quarantining, or closure. We implore our parents to please be vigilant in attending to precautionary practices (handwashing, wearing a mask, staying home when sick, etc.) because if the trend of increased cases continues, we could be designated as red and be subject to remote instruction only.


REQUIRED DAILY! COVID SELF-SCREENING

Parents MUST complete the COVID Self-Screening Assessment each day before sending their child to school. It is imperative that we all complete this screening form EVERY DAY to keep our community safe and healthy. We will be texting and emailing a link to all parents as a reminder for at least the first two weeks and suggest you download the Google Forms App on your phone to make it easy to find each morning. A link is also available in the Infinite Campus Portal.


You ONLY need to complete this form on days your child will be attending in-person instruction (Flex Days and Off Cohort Days not required). If your child is a remote learner, please disregard these district-wide notifications but we do want parents to have access in the event they transition back into in-person learning.


FREE BREAKFAST & LUNCH TO ALL YOUTH

Effective until December 31st, the USDA has passed a waiver which allows us to feed ALL children, 0-18 years old, FREE breakfast and lunch! It is still vital that parents, including those of remote learners, complete the annual Free and Reduced Meal Application as it determines funding for many school programs. FREE meal pick up is available every day from 10:00-11:00 am at the BMS Bus Loop for remote learners and all Biddeford youth and will be provided to in-person students.


DEVICES FOR STUDENTS

Every student in the Biddeford and Dayton School Departments will be assigned a school-owned device for the 2020-2021 school year with the expectation that parents will be responsible for returning them in similar condition (device insurance cost details here). To prepare for unexpected circumstances or potential quarantines, we will be sending devices home each day for all students and they will need to bring them back the next day-charged. All devices will be distributed directly from the school of your child’s grade level.


BIDDEFORD ATHLETICS

The Maine Principals’ Association (MPA) made its final decision on Fall sports yesterday. According to the Portland Press’s reporting, “schools in any counties that carry a yellow or red designation on the Department of Education’s color-coded system ‘there should be no practices or games held until which time they are designated green.’ York County is currently designated as yellow.” Therefore, Biddeford Schools will not be participating in any sporting activities until our designation changes back to green. We recognize this is especially difficult for our students when their peers at schools in close proximity are able to play sports exclusive of football and volleyball. See Athletic Director Dennis Walton’s letter for more information.


We hope these communications are helpful; yet, understand there is a lot of information to digest so please continue to ask questions at closurequestions@biddefordschools.me or by calling the school directly. We also have a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions document on our website at biddefordschools.me/health.


Stay Well,

Jeremy Ray

Superintendent of Schools

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