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posted Aug 24, 2020, 8:05 AM by Bruce Bailey   [ updated Aug 24, 2020, 8:31 AM ]


Belfast ∙ Belmont ∙ Morrill ∙ Searsmont ∙ Swanville

Mary Alice McLean

Office of the Superintendent

PO Box 325

Belfast, ME  04915

       Telephone:  207/338-1960   Fax:  207/338-4597

From: Mary Alice McLean, Superintendent of Schools, RSU 71

To: RSU 71 Community

Date: August 20, 2020

Re: 1) Update on the Draft GREEN, YELLOW, RED Plans and  2) an Appeal

Greetings, RSU # 71 Students, Families, Staff, School Board, and Community Partners,

I hope that this message finds you and yours doing well and enjoying the last few days of summertime in Maine.  I’ve always felt lucky to live here in Maine but no more so than now during this infamous coronavirus pandemic!

Attached please find the latest draft of the “nuts and bolts” of returning to classroom instruction.

I believe that each of you knows that our district plan is to resume classroom-based instruction on Wednesday, September 2.  Students in grades K through 8  will be able to return to school for in-person learning (GREEN)  full-time with the same schedule as always, while students in grades 9 - 12 will follow the YELLOW plan, coming to school in person two days per week and learning remotely on three days per week. The RSU # 71 School board has authorized me to move our school district into the RED remote plan if necessary, in response to an outbreak of COVID-19 within our community. 

It is important to say that students do not have to return to school and are able to remain in remote learning. Many parents and grandparents and guardians have very good reasons for wishing their children to remain in remote learning. It is equally important to state outright that students whose parents choose in-person instruction will be required to strictly adhere to safety requirements set forth by Maine’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Department of Education. Schools will look and feel very different than they have in the past, in deference to the coronavirus pandemic. Students who are unable to adhere to safety protocols will, for the sake of safety, be required to go back to remote learning. We need the help of parents and guardians in communicating with their children about the importance of following safety requirements.  Our first priority is the safety and well-being of all students and all staff. Our collective efforts in matters of safety will make the difference between health and well-being and serious illness. It is not hyperbolic to say that this is a matter of life and death. The recent examples in Dover Foxcroft and Millinocket show us that we Mainers are not immune to the coronavirus and that we all need to do our part to keep everyone safe. On a personal level I can say that I hate wearing seatbelts and hate wearing face-masks. I do so because I know that these legal requirements are for safety’s sake.  Thus I willingly (if sometimes grudgingly) sacrifice my personal comfort for the sake of our fabulous community.  I hope that you will do the same and that you will encourage the young people in your life to do the same.  

Before school resumes I will be sending a video explaining all the safety requirements and the reasons for them. My hope is that all parents and students will watch the video before school resumes on September 2.  Orientations, Open-Houses and Parent Information Sessions are being planned in all schools to educate parents and children about the state-mandated safety protocols we are required to follow. We hope that each family will be able to provide five facemasks for each child and be able to wash these at home. If this poses a hardship, don’t worry. I ask that you simply be in touch with your school principal to request face masks be made available for pick up or mailing before September 2.

I have great faith in our RSU # 71 community.  I know that we can meet this historic moment with aplomb. Our students have shown us time and time again that they are able to adhere to expectations so long as they know what they are and understand why they are important. I hope that parents and grandparents and guardians will be able to help young people learn how to wear face masks, practice hand-hygiene and observe the social distancing requirements. 

Please feel free to be in touch with principals, assistant principals, director and me with any questions and concerns.

With great affection for and faith in the RSU # 71 community, 

-Mary Alice

Open this link for the THMS Specific version of the RSY 71 Return to School Guidelines: