IMPORTANT UPDATE

March 19, 2021

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Dear Parents and Guardians,


Maine’s famous “fool’s Spring” is upon us, and I’ll take it! Longer days and a thawing ground signal better days ahead. The President’s prediction of 4th of July BBQs with vaccinated family has me feeling a great sense of optimism and hope.


While Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, predicts that a vaccination plan for children may not become a reality until 2022, Maine’s adult vaccination program is expanding, while its average daily infections and resultant deaths are down significantly since its New Year’s highs. This is great news for all of us but nevertheless, while infections are down overall, there has been a recent spike among young people. It is important we remain vigilant to preventative measures including masking, handwashing, social distancing, and limiting travel.


Our faculty and staff have been working tirelessly for more than a year now to keep schools safe and as accessible as possible. I’m extremely grateful for--and proud of--our educators, custodial and maintenance staff, nurses, drivers, food service workers, social work providers, administrators (everyone!) for their hard work. And families have done their part, too. Our model has caught on in York County education circles, and I couldn’t be more proud. Biddeford and Dayton building leaders are working tirelessly on the reopening plans for School Year 2021-22 in compliance with CDC guidelines and will present plans at their School Committee meetings in the coming months.


PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO REVIEW THE FOLLOWING SCHOOL NEWS:


BHS IS BACK!

The most significant and visible outcome of our prevention and mitigation efforts is another step forward in our reopening plan. The Biddeford School Committee voted to approve BHS’s plan to return to in-person instruction four days a week starting on March 29th. This date represents a one-week adjustment over an earlier proposal in order to comply with the indoor gathering capacity outlined in Governor Mills’ Moving Maine Forward Plan.


NO CHILD HUNGRY

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released a continuation of needed flexibilities for the school lunch and summer food programs through Summer 2021. The newest extension will allow Maine schools to continue to provide free meals in creative ways at school, remotely, and on weekends to children of all ages through the summer months. The Biddeford and Dayton Schools are pleased to do their part to help keep families nourished.


BEHIND IN RENT?

The federal eviction moratorium is set to expire on March 31st. The emergency Rental Assistance program also offers help with overdue utilities. People can apply online or by filling out a PDF form. Click here for more information and the application. Here is a link to more information and the application. If you become evicted or displaced, please let a building principal know. We may have resources that can help, in addition to these: BIDDEFORD & DAYTON.


PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO REVIEW THE FOLLOWING UPDATED STATE GUIDANCE:


TRAVEL & TESTING / QUARANTINE

  • As of March 5th:

    • Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are once again exempt from Maine’s test or quarantine requirement, joining Vermont and New Hampshire.

    • People who have either had COVID-19 in the previous 90 days, or are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, regardless of state of origin, are now exempted from Maine’s test or quarantine requirement.

    • Federal requirements related to international travel, however, remain in effect.

  • Effective May 1:

    • Maine’s COVID-19 travel policy to exempt all states, unless otherwise determined by the Maine CDC based on a spike in cases of highly contagious COVID-19 variants.


INDOOR AND OUTDOOR GATHERINGS

  • Effective March 26:

    • The capacity limit for indoor gatherings will increase to 50 percent, and outdoor gatherings to 75 percent.

  • Effective May 24:

    • The capacity limit for indoor gatherings will increase to 75 percent, and outdoor gatherings to 100 percent.

  • Graduation Guidelines provided by the Maine DOE last week are currently being reviewed in light of these recent updates. More information will be forthcoming.


VACCINE UPDATE

Maine school staff and child care providers are encouraged to view Maine’s COVID-19 vaccination website for the most up-to-date information on locations accepting appointments. For general vaccination questions, please contact the Maine CDC’s Vaccine Consult Line Monday through Friday between 8am-5pm at 866-962-6062. Please be aware this is not a vaccination appointment line, but they can respond to most vaccination-related questions. If preferred, the public may also use the following email: COVIDVaccine@maine.gov


Stay Well,

Jeremy Ray

Superintendent of Schools

Biddeford Community Mourns the Loss of Two Pillars

Marcel Valliere

Mr. Valliere was a beloved crossing guard of 24 years on the corner of Hill and West Streets. He cared about Biddeford youth and always had a smile and wave to share. It is with our deepest gratitude that, during this difficult time, his family has opted to have memorial donations benefit the Biddeford Education Foundation to help kids in need.

Barbara Ellis

Mrs. Ellis was a science teacher at Biddeford Middle School (BMS) for 27 years, having recently retired in 2019 to enjoy time with her family. A staple of the BMS family, she continued to serve as a substitute teacher when we needed her most--in the midst of a global pandemic. As of this writing, the family’s plans for a memorial are unknown.

Community Conversation around Managing Difficult Behaviors

Wednesday, March 31st, 7-7:30pm

This is an online event.

Join the Biddeford and Dayton Community Outreach Committee for a Community Conversation around managing difficult behaviors. Often students' behaviors stem from a different issue or problem. This will be an open forum in which caregivers have a safe space to discuss challenges they may be facing, learn about resources and strategies to eliminate any barriers, and finish with a question/answer period.


ZOOM LINK: https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/84255159122

Parenting During Pandemic