The following letter was distributed Friday, July 24 by St. George MSU superintendent Mike Felton:
Dear St. George Families and Community Members,
After almost two months of meetings, research, conversations, reviewing family and staff survey results, and pouring over ever changing federal and state guidelines, the Return to School Committee shared their Draft Return to School Plan – Outline and Key Recommendations at the July 15 School Board Meeting. While this is only a draft document that will be revised and updated before the start of school on September 8, it provides a comprehensive overview of our planning and preparation for next year. The draft plan, along with other documents concerning our preparations for next year, are available on the school website.
Over the days and weeks to come, Return to School Committee members will hold small group meetings with parents and community members to share more information about our planning, respond to questions, and listen to your thoughts, feedback, and concerns. Information on those small group meetings will be available soon. If you want to schedule a separate time to discuss concerns or questions, please feel free to email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (207.372.6312) me and we’ll find a time to talk.
Our goal remains to develop a plan that allows students to safely return to in-person instruction in the fall. In developing this plan, we are focused on (1) student, staff and community health; (2) the costs and benefits of social distancing and other strategies that may mitigate the risk of viral spread during the school day; and (3) the importance of classroom-based learning to our students’ academic growth, social development, and overall health and wellbeing. Our plan is informed by educators and school staff, families and community stakeholders, public health officials, and state and federal requirements and recommendations.
The Maine Department of Education recently updated their Framework for Returning to Classroom Instruction.The revised framework includes a red/yellow/green risk indicator for Maine counties to inform school districts “about whether and how to bring students back into the classroom” as well as required health and safety measures for all schools with information about masks/face coverings and social distancing.
We have come a long way since mid-March when we moved to remote instruction. Nothing about this journey has been easy and it’s not over yet. However, we have reason to hope. The numbers of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Knox County remain low. While many schools across the nation have already made the decision to move to remote learning in the fall, we still have the opportunity to get our kids back to school. All of this could change (how many times have you heard that over the past two months!) and, despite all of our efforts, we can only mitigate, not eliminate, the risks associated with Covid-19. But I still believe – I believe in our school, our community, and the St. George MSU mission - to do whatever it takes to ensure that every single student thrives and, as a school-community, to give back and contribute to the Town of St. George.
Stay healthy. Stay hopeful. Stay Dragon Strong.