ROCKPORT — Five Town CSD and School Administrative District 28 Superintendent Maria Libby is asking two school boards for permission to delay the start of school until Sept. 14.
“After a long discussion on Thursday, August 27, with building administrators and directors, our team concluded that we need another week to put the necessary pieces in place for a successful school opening,” she wrote, in a letter to both boards (see below for the full letter). “As you know, our staff has been working around the clock to prepare for this complex task. Unfortunately, there are simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs to get done.”
The schools were to open following the Labor Day Weekend.
The Five Town CSD school board will convene Wednesday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m. in the CHRHS chorus room, while the SAD 28 school board will hold a special meeting Sept. 2, at 6 p.m.
The Five Town CSD school board serves Camden Hills Regional High School and the communities of Rockport, Appleton, Camden, Lincolnville and Hope.
The SAD 28 school board serves Camden-Rockport Elementary and Middle schools and the communities of Camden and Rockport.
The highlight of both meetings will be the possible approval of a delay to the start of the school year until September 14.
Letter from Superintendent Libby to the school boards
After a long discussion on Thursday, August 27, with building administrators and directors, our team concluded that we need another week to put the necessary pieces in place for a successful school opening.
As you know, our staff has been working around the clock to prepare for this complex task. Unfortunately, there are simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs to get done.
In addition, not all of our furniture or supplies have arrived yet.
We feel it is critically important to have all of our safety precautions in place, from hand sanitizer units to the furniture that allows for proper spacing before we open.
Given the stressful and complicated times we are in, a successful launch will go a long way toward building trust with parents, students, and staff and will offer a great deal of public benefit.
We want the lived experience of students to reflect the inordinate amount of work that has gone in to preparing every aspect of our school system for this fall’s Reopening.
To provide some details:
We are awaiting the arrival of over 500 individual desks to use in classrooms and cafeterias that will need to be assembled and distributed.
We are awaiting the arrival of plexiglass which then needs to be mounted in dozens of locations.
We still need to install card readers for student access to more exterior doors, erect the tents we purchased for outdoor learning, and install dozens (if not hundreds) more hand sanitizing stations.
We await cameras to facilitate simultaneous remote learning, ipads that need to be processed, etc.
The list goes on. Many of these items are expected next week, but the assembly, distribution, and installation of all these things takes time. We have not been able to control delivery dates, supplies have been scarce, and we’ve had to move into a new building on the side. On top of that, we cannot train teachers in proper protocols without many of these items in place. Those teachers will be responsible for training students when they arrive. Each school is in the same position.
We do not think it is physically possible to get all the remaining work done before September 8.
I urge the board to move the start date of school at CRES, CRMS, and CHRHS to September 14 to provide the time needed to get everything in place for a successful start.
We are actively working with the YMCA, and others, to offer some type of camp or care for elementary-aged students for that week.
Thanks for your consideration.