RSU 13 Superintendent discusses calendar changes, COVID-19, internet access

Sun, 10/18/2020 - 10:00pm

    The following letter was shared Friday, Oct. 16 by RSU 13 Superintendent John McDonald. 

    RSU 13 serves the communities of South Thomaston, Owls Head, Cushing, Rockland, and Thomaston. 

    Dear RSU 13 Families:

    I would like to update you on a few items as we continue to adapt to the challenges this unprecedented situation has presented us with during this school year.

    School Calendar

    At the Special Meeting of October 15, 2020, the RSU 13 Board of Directors approved changes to the 2020-2021 school year calendar. The previously scheduled Early Release Days, beginning with October 21, have all been changed to full staff development days and two additional professional development days, December 2 and March 24, were added to the calendar.

    The intent of this change is to allow teachers and staff additional time to plan, prepare grades and do the work needed to effectively support the students. In addition, some of this time will be utilized for required trainings, further planning to address future needs for remote learning, or planning on issues related to changing conditions with the pandemic. In collaboration with the Seacoast Educators Association, the Board and Office of the Superintendent have worked to identify the needs of our staff to ensure that the operation of our schools is sustainable and manageable. The number one issue that has come up again and again in communications from our staff is the need for professional time. It is in consideration of this need that the Board and SEA agreed on the calendar changes.

    Internet Access at Home

    I would like to inform parents that we have a limited number of internet “hot spots” available that will allow families access to the internet to support their child’s remote learning. Regarding the hot spots, first, it must be a parent or guardian who makes the request. No hot spots will be given directly to students without parent’s knowledge, consent and request. In order to be eligible to receive the hot spot, a family must live in a location without other internet access OR must meet income guidelines applicable for Free and Reduced lunch and fill out an application. Please contact the Tech Help line at 207-466-8000 if you are in need of a hot spot and meet the eligibility requirements.

    Update on our County/School COVID Designation

    Fortunately, the rate of community transmission and positivity rate for COVID 19 remains relatively low and we still have a “Green” designation. I am happy to say that at the time of this writing, we have had no positive cases of COVID 19 in our school system. Rest assured we continue to monitor the situation and will follow our health and safety protocols and advice from the CDC should the need arise to address any outbreaks in our schools. We will communicate as appropriate with our school community should this happen.

    Thank you for your support from all of us in RSU 13.

    Yours truly,
    John C. McDonald
    Superintendent of Schools