May 1, 2020 (12:00 PM)
On Wednesday, April 28th, Governor Janet Mills extended Maine’s Stay-at-Home Order in the form of a newer “Stay Safer at Home” Executive Order through May 31, 2020. The new order provides a plan for restarting the state’s economy. The Governor’s Plan, succinctly outlined here and in the image below, specifies 4 stages. The reopening of schools is slated to occur in the fourth and final stage, no sooner than September 2020--and depending on the outcomes of the first three stages. In sum, the Governor’s plan details strict limits on group gatherings and identifies criteria that indicate readiness to advance to the next implementation stage.
Professional organizations, business groups, and Maine’s important tourism industry have flooded the Governor’s office with myriad questions and “what-ifs,” according to the Press Herald. As Maine’s CDC Director said this week, “As we move forward toward reopening it’s a lot less about essential versus nonessential, which has been the lens through which we’ve looked for a while now, it’s now about what can be done safely, and what can’t be done safely.”
Summer Camps, Sporting Events and Use of School Facilities
While State Officials grapple with questions ranging from what a “camp” means to what “organized sport” is, there is a trickle-down effect on schools; indeed, dozens of outside organizations utilize Biddeford’s buildings and athletic fields in the summer for activities ranging from baseball practice to academic summer camps. In a recent memo to Superintendents, Maine’s Commissioner of Education Pender Makin made it clear that “the Governor’s announcement applies to businesses, and not to school programs; it is important to note that the State’s recommendation, provided April 7, to continue remote learning plans for the remainder of the school year still stands. Businesses will have the option of opening, and customers will have the option of entering/participating, but school is a compulsory activity with extremely complex considerations, and therefore decisions around opening schools to in-person activities merit a higher standard of safety assurances.”
At this time, our school facilities remain closed and will be for the foreseeable future.
With the revised guidelines in place of gatherings limited to no more than 50 people through July, we will need to revisit our graduation ceremony plan. Although we will not hold graduation on June 5th as originally planned, we will continue to explore possibilities, consult with state officials, and try to determine an alternative plan that safely recognizes the many outstanding achievements of the class of 2020. We understand the importance of graduation to our seniors and their families and want nothing more than to celebrate their accomplishments. Senior Night will be held on Friday, June 5th at 6:30pm (see video below for details) followed by our virtual Candlelight Ceremony at 7pm.
Our Administrative team has developed a plan for parents to recover student belongings. This plan will take time to implement in the coming weeks, which involves recalling staff to clean out student desks and lockers. Planned pick-up will coincide with the return of school department property ranging from laptops to library books, and will occur over several days during or around the last week of school. More details will be communicated next week.
Staff Appreciation Week
Next week is Staff Appreciation Week and I need to acknowledge how fortunate I am to work with such dedicated people. They care so deeply for our students, their families, and our community. If you have a chance to interact with any of our staff this week, please take a moment to thank them for their efforts through this trying time (and be sure to give yourself a pat on the back too for your part in teaching your child)!
We know it has been a tough week to get back into distance learning after vacation but I hope the break was useful for many families. For those utilizing our food distribution program, we will be including some hot food items on the bus runs to help reduce the monotony of another cold sandwich. Over the next five weeks, on Thursdays only, the lunches served will include food items that can be heated up. Instructions will be included.
If you have any questions or concerns in the interim, please call 207-391-6868 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Superintendent of Schools
Check out the collection of artwork from our talented students while they are distance learning! Each year we have the opportunity to host a district-wide art show that draws hundreds of parents, grandparents, staff and community members. We may not be able to host this event within our school building but we certainly can highlight some of the creative artwork submitted to art teachers by our Pre-K through grade 12 students. Great job Biddeford Tigers!
BRCOT Awarded 1st Place in State Competition and BHS Junior Owen Johnson #1 Overall
Congratulations to the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology’s Business Academy on being awarded FIRST PLACE in the State of Maine’s High School Year-Long Stock Market Game, a national investing competition, and BHS Junior Owen Johnson’s #1 OVERALL ranked portfolio in the state with a 35.5% gain in equity!
The collective portfolio performance included 25 students in the Personal Finance & Investing class at BRCOT in which 19 of the 25 students chose to manage their own portfolio, while the others worked in pairs. This means most of these students had to research, strategize, and make decisions 100% on their own during one of the most financially challenging/volatile times in the history of the stock market. Of the 157 high school teams participating statewide, seven of the BRCOT teams were in the Top 25!