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Weekly Update from RSU 71: 11/5/2020

posted Nov 5, 2020, 2:43 PM by Bruce Bailey

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Dear RSU 71 Students, Families, Staff, School Board and Community Members, 

This week’s update about some of the goings-on in our school district during the past week will be Robo-emailed to all families as usual.

In-Person Instruction Planned for Friday, November 13 - Wednesday, November 11th, is a holiday.  Our Monday/Wednesday learners will instead attend school in-person on Friday, November 13th, to make up for the missed day on Wednesday.  Elementary students will be dismissed at noon and middle and high school students at 1:15.  All students will have lunch before being dismissed.  

Kudos to our BAHS Drama Club - Under the direction of THMS teacher Jason Bannister, high school students did a marvelous job with their fall musical Rock of Ages, singing and dancing their hearts out, despite the cold and the size-limited audience. Performances were held outside in the central office parking lot, was limited to family members, and followed all safety protocols. (I watched and listened from inside the central office, and during one of the final pieces -- “Don’t Stop Believing” -- tears of joy filled my eyes.) Our students’ excellence and strong spirit were an inspiration to all of the adults present.

Color Designation - We are awaiting tomorrow’s noon announcement from the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Department of Education (DOE) regarding whether we can return to our Green-Light/In-Person Mode for K-8 students on Monday, November 6. Given the uptick in cases of COVID-19 across the state, I anticipate that we will need to remain in the Yellow-Light Mode for another two weeks.

A New Case - Today, the CDC confirmed that an individual associated with Belfast Area High School tested positive for COVID-19. We sent five staff members and 28 students home to quarantine. Staff will continue to teach from home, while students in quarantine will learn remotely until November 17 or 18. Let’s keep our students and staff members top of mind and hope for no additional confirmed cases, and keep the individual who tested positive in our thoughts and prayers. If you did not get a call or visit from someone on the BAHS team, you are deemed not to be affected by the positive case.


RSU 71 School Board News: Here is a statement from our school board regarding social media use on the part of one of our former board members. An emergency board meeting was held last night, and a statement by the school board is included here:  “The RSU 71 School Board prides itself on leading our district in a professional manner.  We must be conscious of our words and actions and strive to model proper behavior as leaders of our district.  Tonight, the Chair of the RSU 71 Board, a representative from Belfast, resigned effective immediately.  The Board unanimously elected David Crabiel, from Belfast, as the new chairperson, and Jess Woods, of Belfast, as Vice-Chairperson.  The Board is looking forward to continuing to work hard for all of the students, staff, and citizens of our district.”

At our next school board meeting on Monday, November 9, at 5:30 via ZOOM, the board will consider a new policy BEB entitled “Board Member Use of Social Media.”  

Seeking Bridge Personalities- I again call upon our fabulous and friendly RSU 71 community to build bridges that unite us rather than divide us. I have often used the term “bridge personality” to describe students, staff, and others who excel in bringing people with different perspectives together, who use their personal authority to work toward unity and a respectful attitude toward all of our brothers and sisters, even those with whom we disagree. I have been wearing many purple items these days, which symbolizes the unification of partisan red and partisan blue perspectives. (When you combine these two colors, the color created is purple.) We can have affection and respect for one another despite our different beliefs, values, and political affiliations. Our students model this daily. 

I conclude this week’s update as I did last week’s, with a student’s words, those of the valedictorian of the Class of 2020, Syd Sanders. Here is an excerpt from his speech:

"I feel like the divisions that have been inflamed across the country recently are inflaming us, too. And the daunting problems that our generation has to fix are nearly insurmountable. It’s easy to feel hopeless and depressed, but I want to talk about that. Because my four years at this high school have given me so much hope for our future. I truly believe that we can fix all the problems and go beyond and make progress as well. While it is scary, I’m looking at it positively, too. COVID-19, the protests, the political turmoil of this year -- it’s tied us all together.  It’s given us a common experience, common ground that we can use to find the solidarity and cooperation that we need to fix the problems we face in our future.  I think that today’s events are going to bring us together and help us change the world for the better. I think that we can start the journey towards progress and peace. My experience with you all, our crazy class accomplishments, and the solidarity we have found in this experience are going to come together and give us the ability to be the generation that turns things around for Humanity … I have confidence in us. And I hope you do, too.

Let’s all take a page from the wisdom of our youth during this fraught moment in history. Syd ended his speech with, “I love you all.”  I do, too, and hope that we will love one another, especially now.

With confidence in us and our collective life,  

Mary Alice

Mary Alice McLean
Superintendent of Schools, RSU 71
(207) 338 - 1960