ROCKLAND — With Knox County now being designated as a yellow county under the Maine Department of Education’s COVID-19 health advisory system, Regional Unit 13 is shifting to a hybrid learning model beginning Monday, Nov. 9.
One of the added precautions in the hybrid model is a weekly deep cleaning, which would take place each Wednesday in buildings, and students would not be present in the buildings on this day, according to a letter from the district.
An additional precaution is an increase in cohorting where possible.
“While our initial opening plan made great efforts to keep groups of students together throughout the day, the hybrid plan will further these efforts by limiting the opportunities for cohorts of students to intermix throughout the day as feasible,” the letter from Superintendent John McDonald stated. “While we recognize that this is much more challenging in middle school and high school, these two schools will continue to run at half capacity with fewer students in the building as well as in each class.
Hybrid Model in Grades PreK-5: Elementary students in PreK-5 will attend school in person four (4) days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday) with increased cohortings where possible. Every Wednesday will be a no school day for all PreK-5 students. The buildings will be deep cleaned, and PreK-5 teachers will use the time to continue to plan and prepare lessons.
Hybrid Model in Grades 6-12: Middle and High School students will maintain their current groupings, but the weekly schedule will be adjusted to ensure a consistent schedule as well as one that allows for a day of cleaning. Half of the student body will attend Monday and Tuesday. Going forward, Monday and Tuesday will be their in-person learning days. Wednesday will be a virtual learning day for students. The cohorts will switch so that the students who were virtually learning on Monday and Tuesday will be in-person Thursday and Friday while the Monday and Tuesday group learns virtually.
SNOW DAYS: The district changed the language in the reopening plan regarding snow days to state: Snow Days: We are currently not planning to make use of remote snow days this year due to myriad reasons that pose added complications. A snow day will be considered a day with no school.
PRESCREENING AND TRAVEL REMINDER: A quick reminder for all families given the county color shift and given the upcoming holidays. This Prescreening must be done daily by all entering RSU 13 property including transportation. For a list of updated travel restrictions, please see HERE. Families traveling to Maine to visit, as well as families traveling to other states to visit, must either quarantine for 14 days or receive a negative COVID-19 test if visiting a non-exempt state (The only exempt states are currently NH, VT, and MA...please always check for an update as your travel approaches).
WINTER SPORTS: Unfortunately, under the guidelines from the DOE, CDC and the MPA, sports competitions and practices may not be held by schools in a County under a Yellow Designation. Should conditions change, we will update information around the winter sports season.
“I would like to thank you all once again for your continued support of schools and all of our efforts to Stay Open and Stay Safe,” wrote McDonald. “It is due to your efforts that we have been able to be successful in our mission. As always, if you have questions, please feel free to contact me at any time.”