IMPORTANT UPDATE

August 28, 2020

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Dear Parents and Guardians,


I know this update is long but it is important information that everyone MUST read, understand, and follow to be successful. Please take the time to ask any clarifying questions by replying to this email or contacting the schools directly.


The Biddeford and Dayton School Departments have been working diligently over the summer to reopen schools including several construction projects to make school offices safer, implementing safety enhancements, moving 100-plus staff to different buildings and new locations this week, created a remote learning academy, and hired over 40 new interns and staff. As I write this we continue to reach out to each family to gather the necessary information around transportation, in-person or remote instruction, health care information while building classrooms with no more than 12-13 students per room. If you have not yet designated in-person/remote instruction or transportation needs for your child, you MUST call the school immediately.


SCHOOL START DATES

We are making significant progress, but we still have work to do. Therefore, please review the important start schedule as approved by their respective governing boards:

  • DAYTON CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL (DCS)

    • In-person students (Grades 1-5) return on Tuesday, September 8th

    • In-person Kindergarten students start on Thursday, September 10th

    • In-person Pre-K students start on Monday, September 14th

    • Remote Learners (PreK-5) follow the below schedule based on grade.


  • ALL BIDDEFORD SCHOOLS will return to in-person/remote instruction in a modified, phased-in schedule allowing for smaller groups the first two days (September 10 and 11) and all students, including Pre-K and COT, on September 14th. Please take note of which day your child will begin/attend school (and see chart at the end of the newsletter):


    • Thursday, September 10th (ONLY THESE GRADES):

      • JFK - No Students

      • BPS - Grade 1

      • BIS - Grade 3

      • BMS - Grade 5, Grade 6

      • BHS - Grade 8 (not STEM)

    • Friday, September 11th (ONLY THESE GRADES):

      • JFK - Kindergarten Only

      • BPS - Grade 2

      • BIS - Grade 4

      • BMS - Grade 7, All STEM

      • BHS - Grade 9

    • Monday, September 14th (ALL STUDENTS):

      • JFK - Both K and Pre-K* (ALL Pre-K students and two Kindergarten classrooms will attend at their new location of New Life Church in Biddeford.)

      • BPS - All Students

      • BIS - All Students

      • BMS - All Students

      • BHS - Cohort A on MT / Cohort B on ThF

      • COT - Cohort A on MT / COT - Cohort B on ThF


TEACHER & COHORT ASSIGNMENTS

Letters should be arriving in homes shortly with your child’s teacher assignment and other important details about the return to school. Biddeford High School and Center of Technology students will receive their Cohort A or B assignments: Cohort A will attend in-person on Monday and Tuesday and remotely on Thursday and Friday; Cohort B will attend remotely on Monday and Tuesday and in-person on Thursday and Friday. High School students will receive information directly on accessing synchronous learning on remote days. If you have not yet designated in-person or remote instruction for your child, you MUST call the school immediately.


REMOTE LEARNERS

Any students opting for 100% remote instruction will be distinguished as such:

  • Grades PreK-5 (Biddeford and Dayton) will be designated as part of the “Remote Learning Academy” and will receive a letter from the teachers welcoming them to the 2020-2021 school year and further information about the ‘virtual open house’.

  • Grades 6-12 (Biddeford Only) will be designated simply as “Remote Learners” and will receive a letter from the principal and/or assigned teacher explaining how students will participate in direct instruction with their classroom live thanks to OWL technology.

  • Center of Technology: Any remote learners (grades 9-12 only) who want to participate in a COT course must contact the COT office directly as most of those programs require in-person, hands-on experience.

We want to be sure your child is prepared for the first day of remote learning so please review the below device information and plan to pick-up your child’s assigned device during the designated dates/times listed.


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 conditions (device insurance cost details here).

URGENT: If you have not yet returned the device your child used last spring or during summer school, you MUST return it to their school by September 4th (this does NOT apply to incoming 8th graders with MLTI MacBook Airs only as they will use the same device this year). We will not issue a new device to your child if the other has not been returned.


We also want to ensure that every student and staff member has access at home for any remote learning activities. 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. We are working to secure cases for all of the devices, but like many high-demand education products in today's changed world, they are back-ordered.

  • Students opting for in-person instruction:

    • Devices will be assigned during the first week of school. Please do not come to the distribution dates below as your child’s device is at their school.

  • Students opting for 100% Remote Instruction & BHS Cohort B Students ONLY:

    • DAYTON students (PreK-5 only) may pick-up devices at Dayton Consolidated School on Wednesday, September 9th from 12-4pm.

    • BIDDEFORD students may pick-up devices at Biddeford High School on Wednesday, September 9th from 8am-2pm.


INFINITE CAMPUS PARENT PORTAL

It is very important for parents to stay connected to the school and activate their parent portal. If you have not yet set-up your Infinite Campus Parent Portal or need to make any edits to your information, please do so by clicking on the links below. Step-by-step instructions (apply to both Biddeford and Dayton) are available by clicking here.


TRANSPORTATION

The Transportation Department has been verifying with each family as our bus capacity is limited by the distancing guidelines. The number of bus runs will ultimately affect school start times and traffic flow on Hill Street as parents drop-off and pick-up students. We are working directly with the Biddeford Police Department to mitigate the congestion but please be prepared that it will be slower than usual simply due to sheer volume so plan extra time to avoid frustration. Below are the current drop-off/pick-up procedures in place by school (may change slightly) and signage will be plentiful.

  • If you have not yet designated a transportation method, you MUST call the Transportation Department immediately at 282-0909 as your child will ONLY be able to ride the bus if a seat is assigned in advance. See walking boundaries here for BMS/BHS students.

  • All students MUST have a mask on to board the bus (no exceptions).

  • Approximate bus stops/times will be noted in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal by September 8th (Dayton will be September 4th). If your child is not assigned to a seat by that date, they may not ride the bus until you contact the Transportation Department.

  • Arrival & Dismissal Procedures/Maps


FOOD DISTRIBUTION

As we prepare for schools to reopen, we will no longer be able to provide bus delivery of meals. We will continue to provide a pick-up option allowing families who opt for remote instruction to continue to access food, as well as all families on Flex Days.

  • PICK-UP ONLY

    • Monday through Friday

    • 10:00 - 11:00 AM

    • Biddeford Middle School Bus Loop


BIDDEFORD ATHLETICS UPDATE

As you may have seen in the news, the Maine Principals' Association’s (MPA) Sports Medicine Committee has recommended a pathway to athletics for the fall, which allows competitive play for ALL sports. The MPA’s Interscholastic Management Committee unanimously accepted their recommendation yesterday and submitted the proposed sport-specific guidelines to the Governor's office for consideration by the Maine DOE, DHHS, DECD, and CDC. If approved by those agencies as meeting the current state guidelines, schools would have a stand-alone set of criteria for offering athletic programs this year.

Superintendents and School Committees across the state are taking a measured approach to this situation and will make a determination when the final report is provided based on any guidance presented by the Maine CDC. There are many factors to consider around return to play prior to the start of school including the ability for transportation, liability insurances, schedule development, and current community transmission. Regardless, Athletic Director Dennis Walton is asking families to be prepared in advance for a potential return by registering on FamilyID and securing your child’s physical exam documentation - see full memo here.


STUDENT RETURN TO SCHOOL GUIDELINES

All families and students will be required to adhere to the Student Return to School Guidelines based on requirements in the Framework for Returning to Classroom Instruction by the Maine DOE and endorsed by the School Committee. These guidelines are in place in an effort to protect the health of all students, staff, and the larger community. Please review them with your child(ren) before school begins:


As always, please seek out our official communication avenues (District website and Facebook Page) as well as the comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions document on our website. We encourage parents and guardians to seek clarification and direct any questions to closurequestions@biddefordschools.me or 207-391-6868.


Stay Well,

Jeremy Ray

Superintendent of Schools

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Biddeford Schools - Returning to School