August 4, 2020
COVID-19 MEMO #13
Veazie Community School 2020 - 2021
School Reopening Plan
Dear VCS Parents and Caregivers,
At last night’s meeting, the VCS School Committee approved the conceptual design of a school reopening plan. This plan was designed and recommended by the VCS School Reopening Advisory Committee (SRAC) after 12 meetings in July. The SRAC used survey feedback from parents, students and staff along with scientifically-based guidance provided by the Maine Department of Education Framework for Returning to Classroom Instruction in partnership with the Maine CDC and Maine Emergency Management Agency. It is very important to recognize that these plans are recommendations based on what we know “today,” and that a key piece of our overall planning is to embrace the fluidity of the situation by designing a plan that has capacity to pivot, or change at a moment’s notice. Furthermore, this plan is still considered a preliminary outline with much more work and detail to follow between now and the start of the school year. We do feel confident that the information we are releasing today contains key information that parents and families will need for planning purposes. Additional information related to student schedules, pickup/drop-off procedures, daily self-check system, etc. will be released during the month of August in the form of a student handbook.
As you may already know, the MDOE announced that all counties in Maine are considered ‘Green.’ This ‘Green’ categorization suggests that Penobscot County has a relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread and that schools may consider in-person instruction as long as they are able to implement the required health and safety measures. The VCS SRAC, and many other schools in Maine, quickly recognized that several factors, including staffing and facilities, limit our capacity to fully implement all Maine CDC health and safety requirements. For this reason, the SRAC is recommending the following tiered hybrid model that strikes a balance of complying with Maine DOE and Maine CDC guidelines, while maximizing the benefits of in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible. In addition, parents will continue to reserve the right to have their child receive remote-only instruction.
Based on what we know today, if Penobscot County remains ‘Green’ through the month of August and into early September, VCS will reopen as follows:
PreK - Grade 2 — Full Return
Grades 3 - 8 — Hybrid Model
*Full-Time Remote Learning option available to all students
Based on what we know today, if Penobscot County changes to ‘Yellow’ on or before the first day of school in September, VCS will reopen as follows:
PreK - Grade 8 — Hybrid Model
*Full-Time Remote Learning an option available to all students
Based on what we know today, if Penobscot County changes to ‘Red’ on or before the first day of school in September, VCS will reopen as follows:
PreK - 8 Remote Learning Required for all students
Details of this draft plan can be found here: https://docs.google.com/docume...
All parents and caregivers should read this draft plan as it outlines a phased-in start of the year. In summary:
Week of August 30 - Sept. 4
Video Open House Sessions (dates, times, details TBD)
PK - Grade 2 (only) begin in-person Sept. 2, 3, 4
1:30 early dismissal on Sept. 2, 3, 4
Grades 3 - 8 will be in remote learning Sept. 2, 3, 4
Week of September 8 - 11
Pk - Grade 2 in-person all week (1:30 early dismissal each day)
Grades 3 - 5 in-person on Sept. 8; remote Sept. 9 - 11 (1:30 early dismissal on Sept. 8)
Grades 6 - 8 remote Sept. 8 & 9; in-person Sept. 10 & 11 (1:30 early dismissal on Sept. 10 & 11)
Week of September 14 - 18
PK - Grade 2 in-person all week (2:35 dismissal)
Grades 3 - 5 in-person Sept. 14 & 15; remote Sept. 16 - 18 (2:35 dismissal)
Grades 6 - 8 remote Sept. 14 - 16; in-person Sept. 17 & 18 (2:35 dismissal)
Going forward, if Penobscot County remains ‘Green,’ all future weeks will resemble the schedule for our third week of school (Sept. 14 - 18).
Our draft plan linked above details many safety measures and precautions VCS staff will be taking to ensure health and safety of students, staff and our community. Our focus will be to maintain 6 feet of social distancing as much as possible, reducing group sizes as feasible, and strict enforcement of wearing face masks for all students (we will be using Maine CDC guidance to provide necessary face mask breaks throughout the day.) VCS will continue to provide updated information regarding schedules, etc. to families during the month August. We are also requesting all families to complete this survey indicating official decisions regarding attendance and transportation. This vital information will directly impact scheduling and staff assignments. Please read the entire plan linked above before making your family decisions. Link to Survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/...
In the meantime, we strongly encourage families to begin practicing how to properly wear face masks for extended periods of time, demonstrating what 6-feet of social distancing looks like, and discussing the importance of personal hygiene including hand washing, coughing/sneezing into your elbow, and refraining from touching your face. We are also encouraging that our younger learners have time to practice personal care skills such as shoe tying, opening their own lunch box and pre-packaged lunch items. Please remember, kids will respond to our (adult) cues…share information on how they can reduce the spread of COVID-19, answer questions they may have matter of factly—it is ok to say “I don’t know”— and build routines around temperature checks and having a clean mask before leaving home each morning.
Thank you for your patience while the VCS School Reopening Advisory Committee works diligently to develop these draft plans.
Matthew D. Cyr
VCS Superintendent & Principal