December 10, 2021
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Dear Parents and Guardians,
As we wrap up our school-based COVID vaccine clinics this week for youth ages 5-11, we are hopeful that having over 750 youth in our community recently vaccinated will ease some concerns as families gather for the holidays. Our parents and staff have been wonderful in adhering to some complicated protocols over the first half of the school year. The entire administration appreciates your efforts, and we encourage families to continue to be vigilant around health and safety prevention measures (handwashing, masking, etc.) to mitigate risk to ensure a safe return in January. We mustn’t abandon common sense precautions during the holiday season.
As we enter the winter months, our hope is that the increase in vaccinated youth will reduce quarantines in the second half of the school year. If your child has been fully vaccinated, please send a copy or take a photo and email the card to their School Nurse to assist with contact tracing. Fully-vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine if identified as a close contact so long as they remain asymptomatic. Also, if your family plans to travel for the holidays, please be aware of travel guidance and testing requirements (linked here).
Earlier this week I sent an email about our driver shortage (linked here). We are hopeful that we will not have to institute a contingency plan with multiple bus runs, staggered times for late arrival/early release; however, it is important that we are proactive and not reactive when it comes to students’ education. We remain hopeful that we can recruit bus drivers but it remains a serious concern throughout all school districts. If you know anyone who would like to become a bus driver, please ask them to contact our Human Resources department or apply online (see link below). Our district will cover the cost of the training and testing needed for the required CDL license.
THOSE IN NEED
I’d like to say thank you to the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club, along with some individual donors and businesses, who have stepped up this holiday season to adopt 35 families with 92 children in Biddeford, Saco, and Dayton. It is heartwarming to see the kindness and generosity of neighbors helping neighbors during this difficult time of year. Our district has also been fortunate to receive some grant funding to assist those in need. If your child is in need of warm winter gear, please reach out to your child(ren)’s principal and we will do our best to assist.
Finally, I’d be remiss not to thank the hardworking, passionate staff of the Biddeford and Dayton School Departments. When I reflect on the long list of things of which I am grateful for this joyous season, I always think of our employees who have gone above and beyond to keep our schools safe, open, and welcoming to all.
Enjoy your vacation starting on December 23rd and stay healthy!
Superintendent of Schools
The district administration and transportation department have been proactive in recruitment efforts that haven’t borne much fruit, so the following plans are in place should an illness, exposure, quarantine, or vacancy occur. Please review!
Winter Coats Donated through Local Organizations & Operation Warm
SCHOOL NURSES RECEIVE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
Included with the award was a heartfelt letter from the MSBA Board of Directors that read, "Operating schools during this time at best has been a challenge; however, knowing you are there providing steadying guidance during phone calls, endless contact tracing, and administrator, staff, parent and student reassurances allowed schools in Maine to operate at a very high level during this pandemic. MSBA honors your work as outstanding."
Our deepest gratitude for the amazing nurses who choose to work in our district!
POOLED TESTING HOLIDAY SCHEDULE
Looking ahead to Winter Break, the last pooled testing date before the Winter Break will be Friday, December 17th. During the week of December 20th, pooled testing will not be conducted or collected in any Maine schools. Although pooled testing will resume the following week we return (January 3rd), anyone participating who is unvaccinated and identified as a close contact from a school exposure would need to either:
be tested twice (on separate days) using an antigen test (BinaxNOW) so long as they remain asymptomatic and then resume the normal pooled testing schedule.
Since pooled testing will be suspended over winter break, trained school staff may administer BinaxNOW testing to student-athletes, coaches, and referees (with permission) on two separate days during the school break to allow some extracurricular activities to occur and prevent a positive case from exposing others. If negative, those students/staff may participate in the event.
If you'd like to make a difference, join our team!
Water Bottles Needed for all Schools
Does your business or organization have clean unused reusable water bottles that could be donated to our schools? If so, please email Karen Chasse at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your consideration!