December 11, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Last week, I reported 27 confirmed COVID-19 cases in our school community, spanning all but one of Biddeford’s schools. Fortunately, the impact on the larger school community was blunted because of the planned remote week following Thanksgiving break. There is no doubt that if we had come back to school immediately, we would’ve potentially had to quarantine multiple classrooms and faced an outbreak that shuttered school buildings through the New Year.
While not gathering with family and friends for Thanksgiving was difficult, we anticipate the upcoming holidays to be even more of a challenge for many. We acknowledge some families may have been willing to forgo a family celebration at Thanksgiving in the hopes of gathering instead for the winter holidays. Nevertheless, as cases in Maine increase at alarming rates, the data show what the science unambiguously tells us: gathering with others jeopardizes community health and the ability of schools to remain open for in-person instruction.
In consultation with the Biddeford and Dayton School Committees, we believe it is best to limit risk as we enter the holidays and have endorsed a similar mitigation plan: the week following vacation will be remote instruction only (January 4 - 8) with students returning to in-person instruction on January 11. Several other districts in York County are modifying their before- or after-break schedules in a similar fashion.
As parents and employees, we completely understand the additional four (4) remote days may be a challenge for families. Although we believe our schools remain safe and prefer to have students learning face-to-face with their teachers, it is imperative we plan for the reality that positive cases will most likely increase following this break. We will continue to provide free food distribution during the remote week with more information forthcoming.
As we look ahead into January, we will not have the Flex Day on Wednesday, January 20th due to the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday. Students PreK-8 will attend in-person instruction Tuesday through Friday that week and Biddeford High School’s Cohort A will attend on Tuesday and Wednesday.
York County remains a yellow designation according to the Maine CDC and Maine DOE’s Health Advisory System rating. For the health and safety of all our students and staff, please continue to complete the COVID-19 self-screening assessment each morning, and I urge families to heed the CDC recommendations to postpone family gatherings. We must all work together during this difficult time to ensure that our schools remain safe and open for in-person instruction.
Superintendent of Schools
This Dashboard, updated by the Maine CDC on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week, reports COVID cases in Maine schools PreK-12 over the last 30 days.