August 4, 2020 3:00PM EST COVID-19 MEMO #13 Veazie Community School 2020 - 2021 School Reopening Plan Dear VCS Parents and Caregivers, At last night’s meeting, the...
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Event: School Committee Meeting
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Attention: Families who have not yet completed out reopening decision survey - Today is the deadline! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdQd3ZfDkA5Izh1PEPywKeM1I96oC_1FP2LIg7KLqrLWBAVUg/viewform?usp=sf_link
Matthew D. Cyr
Safe schools are our community responsibility--let's work together. view image
Matthew D. Cyr
Hello Veazie Community Staff and Families, I am pleased to share news that Northern Light Health (EMMC) will be hosting a panel of experts discussing the reopening of schools. This live webinar will be held on Thursday, July 30, at 11:00a.m. Topics being discussed include: risk mitigation in schools and childcare settings, strategies for addressing youth anxiety, and health literacy. The target audience for this webinar is parents, teachers, students, school administrators, or anyone else who wants to join in. This is a free opportunity, but you must register in advance. Registration can be completed through this link: https://northernlighthealth.org/Resources/Safe-Return-to-Business/Week-8 Panel members include: Karen Hawkes, VP Northern Light Beacon Health Howard Jones, MD, Medical Director NL Work Health Chris McLaughlin, LCSW, AVP, Community and Pediatric Services at NL Acadia Kristy Townsend, PhD, UMS Science Advisory Board (and my contact about this- I have her slides to share after if they would be useful for our communication stuff) Suzanne Morsehead, RN, BSN, INfection Control Specialist, NLH Joel Farley, AVP, Facilities Managment, NLH EMMC Jim Jarvis, MD, FAAFP, Medical Director, Clinical Education, NL EMMC, COVID Response Incident Commander Have a good evening! Sincerely, Matthew D. Cyr, Veazie Community School Superintendent & Principal view image
Matthew D. Cyr
July 25, 2020 3:45pm EST Dear Veazie Community School Families, Each day, we are getting closer to a recommendation regarding the return to school this fall. The Maine Department of Education (M-DOE) intends to publish a red/yellow/green health and safety advisory on July 31, 2020. This designation will correspond to the Maine Department of Education Framework for Return to Classroom Instruction https://www.maine.gov/doe/framework. The decision on whether or not to bring students back into the classroom will be guided by the three tiered system for each of Maine’s sixteen counties. The designation of RED indicates the county has a high risk of COVID-19 and that in person learning at schools should not be conducted. YELLOW indicates a suggested hybrid of virtual and in person learning. GREEN indicates in person learning would be possible with safety measures. If there is something going on that might potentially be restrictive to one area of the county that may not affect schooling in another part of the county, that information will be taken into account in discussions with the Maine DOE and Maine CDC as we work to make the right decision for VCS. If the recommendation is to bring students back, six key safety requirements come into play: Screening for symptoms, Maintaining physical distancing, Face masks for all students and staff, Hand hygiene, Wearing personal protective equipment indoors, and Staying home if you're sick. In addition to having to follow these six key safety requirements, we must consider the reality and feasibility of implementing such a plan. This is no easy task. The VCS School Reopening Advisory Committee (SRAC) consists of parents, staff, administrators, and school committee members. This group has been working hard to process new information and continue development of our possible return scenarios. It would be premature for us to finalize and report any specific plan before receipt of information regarding specifics of the Red/Yellow/Green system of monitoring the spread of the virus is received and taken into consideration. However, please know that we have been hard at work thinking through the different possible scenarios, ordering PPE, and cleaning and preparing our school. We have had a chance to reflect on the months of remote learning, as well as beginning to analyze the responses we have received from parent and staff surveys. Our planning team understands that every family situation is unique, and feelings can change over time. For that reason, we are asking all families to complete another survey for each child based on where they stand at this point in time. Please find and complete the following survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScTK3tmriYnL61AMhRy2GQLalbn5OsC4mhj0PUBD5yGLQ4Emg/viewform?usp=sf_link The information you provide the SRAC helps us to think more clearly about this fall, and while we worked hard to do a good job last spring, we will improve and do an even better job of helping your students to learn and grow in any model. We stand ready to support all our students whatever their needs while implementing best practice to protect the health of our students, their families and our staff. Our goal is for the SRAC to present return to school scenarios and parent/staff survey data to the Veazie School Committee at our next meeting on Monday, August 3 at 6pm in the VCS gym. We are hopeful that by the end of that week, we will be in a position to share our school reopening plan. We remain dedicated to establishing a safe, effective model to begin the 2020-2021 school year and are hopeful that by the time we make the turn for spring and the last quarter of the year we will see things returning to normal. Until then we will continue to be patient and move with appropriate caution keeping safety, social/emotional wellness, and learning in mind. Thank you for your time, for completing this survey, and for continuing to support Veazie Community School. Sincerely, Matthew D. Cyr, Superintendent & Principal
Matthew D. Cyr
July 16, 2020 3:00PM EST COVID-19 MEMO #12 Veazie Community School 2020 - 2021 Return to School Update Dear VCS Parents and Caregivers, I wanted to reach out with updated information on the return to school this fall. As required by the Department of Education, Veazie Community School has developed a collaborative planning team—we refer to ourselves as the VCS School Reopening Advisory Committee (SRAC). Our group is made up of 24 individuals representing multiple stakeholder groups including VCS staff, parents, the town, and experts in the medical field. SRAC members are: Matthew Cyr, VCS Superintendent & Principal Debrajean Scheibel, VCS Special Services Director Lexie Dineen, VCS School Counselor Amber Peters, Parent and VCS School Nurse Diane Smart, VCS Teacher and Veazie Education Association President Susan Logan, VCS Teacher Melissa Hileman, VCS Teacher Martha Shannon, VCS Teacher Laurie Kimball, VCS Teacher Jessica Murphy, VCS Teacher Nicole Spinney, VCS Teacher Tara Frazier, VCS Teacher Katie Saucier, VCS Ed. Tech. Nicole Richard, VCS Ed. Tech. Cassie Schissell Barber, Parent and VCS Ed. Tech. Kristen Bagley, Parent and Veazie School Committee Chair Valli Vel, Parent and Veazie School Committee Vice-Chair Bill Reed, Veazie School Committee Member Paul Dupuis, Veazie School Committee Member Alex Friess, Parent and Veazie School Committee Member Mark Leonard, Veazie Town Manager and Veazie Police Chief Caitlin Howell, Parent and Biomedical Engineering Professor @ UMaine; also serves on UMS Reopening Team Andy Brown, Parent and UMaine Public Safety Tonya Brown, Parent and Registered Nurse To focus our work, we are using the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) framework for reopening school: https://www.maine.gov/doe/covid-19/reintegrate as well as CDC guidelines for schools. The MDOE Commissioner of Education, Pender Makin, shared that the State will determine when and how schools may reopen depending on COVID-19 health and safety markers for our region. The MDOE framework requires that all schools develop plans for three potential scenarios for the fall: Full Remote (all students learning from home), Hybrid (students learning from home on some days, and in-person on others), and In-Person (all students learning in-person). The Veazie School Reopening Advisory Committee (SRAC), like all other schools in Maine, is presently developing these three plans. They will remain in draft form until more direction and safety metrics can be provided in the upcoming weeks. Our four areas of focus within each return scenario are Safety, Instruction, Non-Instruction, and Communication. We are also collaborating to ensure equitable access to opportunity for all of our students while having the ability to efficiently pivot from one learning scenario to another with minimal down time. We had a nearly 90% completion rate of our earlier parent survey. This information and all future survey information significantly assist our efforts. Thank you! Members of the VCS SRAC will be participating in a two-day MDOE workshop next week with great focus on fine-tuning our draft plans. We hope to share these draft plans with all of you in the next couple of weeks. 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. Thank you for your patience while the VCS School Reopening Advisory Committee works diligently to develop these draft plans. Sincerely, Matthew D. Cyr VCS Superintendent & Principal