IMPORTANT UPDATE

March 27, 2020 (3:00 PM)

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PLANNING * FOOD FOR ALL * ELECTRONIC ACCESS

Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,


Following Governor Mills’ press conference increasing restrictions on non-essential businesses and reiterating the need to adhere to social distancing measures, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner announced the following:


  • A waiver of the current 175 “required days” in a school year.

  • Forgo MEA testing this school year. Negotiations are still underway with the College Board regarding the SATs.

  • All school employees-- hourly or salaried-- would continue to be paid.

  • Teacher renewal certifications would be extended for up to one year, along with evaluations, and graduating senior teachers may cease the remainder of their internship with an instructor recommendation.


The Maine DOE Commissioner did not provide guidance on the remainder of the school year in relation to schedule or distance-learning plans beyond stating that once community spread occurs, the recommendation period for social distancing is between 8-20 weeks. We know this is unsettling for many parents, students, and staff, and we are doing our best to navigate this unprecedented situation. The area Superintendents continue to meet weekly and proffer recommendations to their prospective School Boards surrounding the best interest of our student population as a whole.


WEEKLY TEACHER PLANNING WEDNESDAYS

As we move forward with distance learning, our administrative team and teachers are working to improve the experience for our students and their families through:


  • Utilization of consistent platforms: Google Classroom and Zoom.

  • A larger collaborative K-5 and 6-12 to promote innovative-thinking and uniformity.

  • Each Week, teachers will be in planning sessions across our “virtual district” between 8 and 11 am, with school opening at noon. It is important for staff to work together to adjust our plans each week as feedback regarding your experience is brought forward. We appreciate hearing what is working well and what challenges your child faces.


FOOD DISTRIBUTION OPEN TO ALL YOUTH

The Biddeford and Dayton School Departments, in conjunction with the USDA, are providing lunch and breakfast. Thanks to some area nonprofits, we are now able to provide some personal care items and fresh produce to the distribution. This is available to all youth 18 and under-- regardless of income-- so please take advantage of this opportunity to have one less task in your busy schedule. For the week of Monday, March 30-Friday, April 3:

  • BIDDEFORD:

    • ONE curbside distribution site at Biddeford Middle School from 10:30am-12:00pm. All previous community sites have been discontinued.

    • Bus routes with 60+ stops will deliver meals to all youth. To access meals, simply be present at the bus stop at the designated time shown on the revised schedule.

  • DAYTON:

    • Remains curbside distribution at Dayton Consolidated School from 9:30-11:30am

    • ALL Dayton youth 18 and under, regardless of school affiliation, are eligible.


If you are over 18 or in need of additional resources beyond food, the following resources may be helpful: Biddeford COVID-19 Provider Modifications to Services and Alternatives to in-Person Services.


ACCESS TO DEVICES & INTERNET

Our staff has been busy contacting parents to determine who is in need of devices and internet access. We now have a complete assessment of those needs and an inventory of our devices available for distribution. Families will be contacted directly and provided with a specific time next week to pick up their issued device/hotspot. If you have not been contacted by Monday morning and are in need, please send an email or call the phone number below.


In closing, please remember while schools are closed so are all our athletic facilities and playgrounds (i.e. Waterhouse Field, etc.). It is important we adhere to the social distancing guidelines. As always, please stay connected with us at biddefordschools.me/health, and direct questions to closurequestions@biddefordschools.me or use our special closure hotline at 207-391-6868.


Stay Well,

Jeremy Ray

Superintendent of Schools

Notice Regarding IEPs from Special Education Director Jen Normand


Thank you in advance for your patience and flexibility during these uncertain times. As a result of the recent Covid-19 outbreak, all students have been transitioned to a distance learning curriculum and no services are currently being provided in our school buildings. We will continue to hold annual IEP meetings via an online platform (Zoom) or conference call. At this time we are not able to complete in-person evaluations and for this reason, we anticipate that most initial evaluations and triennial evaluations will need to be postponed until we are able to safely conduct in-person evaluations.


Service delivery will continue to be individualized based on your child’s unique goals and services. Your child's case manager and or therapists will be reaching out to explain what this plan will look like. In order to best meet the needs of your son/daughter through distance learning, staff may provide some instruction/ therapy using a group online learning platform. As we all work together to balance student privacy and access to instruction please do not record these sessions. If you do not want your child to participate in this group instruction, please notify your child’s case manager and or therapist and we will make alternative arrangements.


Moving forward we will be using electronic communication/ email for all special education documents and communication. If you are not comfortable with this method of communication, please notify your child's case manager and we will do our best to make alternative arrangements as we are able.


We recognize that this situation is less than ideal for students and families. Please know we are committed to supporting you and your child during this time. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.

As most of the country is practicing social distancing and staying home, the 2020 U.S. Census is ongoing and everyone is required to respond to their recent mailer. Biddeford is currently at an 18.9% response rate but New Hampshire residents are beating Maine in self-response rates! In an effort to motivate more people to self respond online, over the phone or by mail, the Census’ innovation team has a new video contest where a grand prize winner will receive $30,000, the runner up $10,000 and best student submission $10,000! Why not make this part of a history distance learning project and let’s produce some winners from our talented and creative community!

MaineHealth's Child Care Connection

MaineHealth (MH) is taking action to care for our communities and protect our healthcare workers. MH has established a portal to compile a directory of individuals willing to provide in-home supervision for children of healthcare workers who must continue to work during this challenging time. As a community partner, Biddeford and Dayton School Departments are sharing the below link for any high-school/college students, low-risk community members, including substitute teachers or other support workers, who may choose to babysit for healthcare workers. MH will assist connecting those that can help with those who have needs. Information for the directory will be added in real-time and shared only with MaineHealth team members who are in need of support. If you have any questions or concerns, please call MaineHealth directly at 207-662-6202.