January 21, 2022
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Staff,
As we head into the second half of the school year, some students completed NWEA Winter testing while others will begin testing next week and high schoolers wrapping up our district testing during the first week in February. Thank you for ensuring students were not only present but ready to focus on the task at hand, whether that meant they had a good night's rest or breakfast before/upon arrival at school. This data is not always a complete picture of students’ knowledge but it provides us with critical program insights as we plan a roadmap for future learning.
We want to keep parents informed of the ongoing updates related to how our schools operate but we also recognize the toll it plays on mental health for all of us–not just students. Raising positivity levels in your brain creates the 'happiness advantage' allowing our intelligence, creativity, energy, and outcomes to improve. This is exactly what our Resiliency Coordinators strive towards as they make our students' “Somedays” a reality. A “Someday” is when a student is asked to select something fun and meaningful to them–a wish, idea, or experience–and staff works together to give them that special moment before the end of the school year. I’d like to thank our Resiliency Coordinators, teachers, drivers, and all support staff for their part in increasing positivity levels for our students and each other during these challenging times. I’d encourage parents and families to personally thank our staff as well if you see them out in the community.
Due to the significant increase in COVID cases throughout Maine and the high transmission of Omicron, it is now presumed that anyone can be a close contact. Therefore, school nurses will no longer be doing extensive contact tracing but rather focusing on communicating to parents for these scenarios:
Positive Results: Personal phone calls will be made to individuals who test positive in a pool.
Elementary Schools: An email will be sent if there is an individual who tests positive in your child’s class, as well as a school-wide email at the end of the day.
Middle and High Schools/COT: Due to students moving throughout the building to change classes, a school-wide email will be sent with the number of positive cases at the end of each day. Athletic team participants will also be notified separately, as needed.
If you have a specific concern regarding your child, please follow up directly with the School Nurse.
Again, any close contact notifications are now being sent through our Infinite Campus messaging system to streamline the workload for our nurses. Some families have reported these messages going to their spam folder, so please be sure to check your spam filter to ensure that you are getting these messages.
The CDC continues to focus on prevention measures to mitigate the spread of COVID and to protect against the omicron variant. Beyond hand hygiene, the most significant steps are vaccinations, testing, and masking.
Booster Clinics: Through a partnership with the York County Emergency Management Agency, we were able to provide 125 boosters at the clinic held this past Wednesday for all Biddeford, Saco, and Dayton students and staff (12+). Future clinics may be held. You may also schedule an appointment or attend a walk-in at various other clinics in our area through one of these links: MaineHealth Clinics, Northern Light Health Clinics, CVS, or Walgreens.
Free At-Home Tests: Beginning this week, every home in the US is eligible to receive four free at-home COVID-19 test kits. Simply go to www.covidtests.gov and fill in your household information. Tests will ship to your home in approximately 7-12 days. This is wonderful news considering the decreased access and increased cost associated with testing. In addition, many health plans are now reimbursing up to eight tests per member per month and diagnostic testing continues to be covered by the federal requirement in place. For testing sites and information on the at-home testing process, click here.
Free N-95 Masks: Starting next week, every American is eligible to receive three free N95 masks per person (see PPH article here). The masks will be delivered to pharmacies and community health centers that partnered with the federal government to provide vaccinations and are available for distribution as early as late next week. At this time, there is no information on N-95 masks for children, and we ask parents to please send their child(ren) with additional masks each day. For tips from the CDC on improving how your mask protects you, click here.
Monitoring Symptoms & Reporting Positive Cases: We continue to ask families to please be vigilant in monitoring any symptoms of COVID (linked here) and if your child is not feeling well, they should stay home until COVID can be ruled out. Please also continue to report any positive results via the Google Forms below or call the school directly. Although individuals who test positive may leave isolation on Day 6, we want to ensure our school community remains healthy. If your child is still not feeling well or if they cannot wear a mask appropriately 100% of the time, please keep your child home and rest assured it is an excused absence.
Thank you for doing your part to keep our school community healthy and safe.
Superintendent of Schools
Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition Calling All Youth
Project Alliance, a division of the Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition, is looking for motivated youth who want to make a difference in their community and support their peers to join our new youth leadership council. Project Alliance's work is guided by youth input and youth involvement.
Those who want to participate will get free training opportunities, volunteer and leadership experience, chances to join in and bring activities to your school, and support topics cared about by their peers. If you are interested, please contact Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and follow our youth Instagram @chccyouth.
If your child tests COVID positive, please complete this form.
If your child has been fully vaccinated, please complete this form to assist our School Nurses.
Check out Biddeford's Winterfest Activities!
HEALTHY UPDATES FROM "LET'S GO 5210"
How will parents be notified of school cancellation, delays, or early release during a storm? Click above for everything you need to know.