The following letter was distributed Friday, Sept. 11 by RSU 71 Superintendent Mary Alice McLean:
Dear RSU # 71 Students, Families, Staff and School Board,
In-Person Instruction - We are just concluding our second week of in-person instruction and the school system continues to be functioning smoothly. Students are enthusiastically engaged in learning while also heeding all the required safety protocols. I wish to personally thank each and every student for showing such an understanding and willingness to comply with safety protocols in this age of the coronavirus pandemic. Students have been simply superb about it all. Staff members are working their usual magic in all spheres of the school system including instruction, administration, transportation, food service, technology, cleaning, maintenance, and the facilitation of co-curricular activities. Our school nurses are in close conversation with me regarding any student or staff member with health concerns. The school buildings have never looked more beautiful or been cleaner on account of our custodial and maintenance workforce having had more time than usual to attend to painting and deep cleaning over the past few months.
As of today, we have 84% of our students attending school in person, while parents, grandparents, and guardians have chosen remote learning for 14% of our students. Just 2% of our students have been registered by their parents for homeschool. This data suggests that many more parents are comfortable with sending students back to school now than when they were surveyed this spring. At that time 701 families responded and 62.5 % were comfortable with the idea of their children returning to in-person instruction, whereas now we have 84% of our students coming in person. We are very happy to see our students in person but also feel extremely confident that our remote learners will be very well served by the Remote Learning Plan designed with their needs in mind.
Remote Instruction - Remote instruction is set to launch on Monday, September 14, with all our remote teachers having communicated with students and families during the past week. There are four remote elementary teachers, three remote middle school teachers, and one remote high school teacher. Today our Director of Technology, Dave Fournier, and our Assistant Superintendent, Laura Miller, are at picnic tables outside of the central office, handing out chrome books, hotspots, and learning packets to families whose students will be learning remotely.
Food Service - We have good news in the area of foodservice; starting Monday, September 14, 100% of RSU # 71 students will be entitled to free meals. We will be sending additional information home to all families early next week after Monday's administrative team meeting.
Fall Sports and Special Board Meeting - A special school board meeting has been scheduled for this Monday, September 14, 2020, at 5:30 pm via ZOOM, so that the school board can approve the plan for fall sports which was released by the MPA yesterday afternoon. If approved, we plan to begin our fall sports the following day. The full text of the plan can be found here: mpa.cc/page/ hot_news/view/33
RSU # 71 Task Force to Return to Classroom Instruction - We will be meeting today at 2:00 pm via ZOOM to hear from all sub-committees how it is going from their perspective. Many thanks to the 58 individuals who have served on this important task force.
On this anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on our country I am feeling very patriotic and proud, both of our nation's ability to respond to adversity and of RSU # 71 as we work together to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
With thanks, best regards, and warm wishes for a wonderful weekend,