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Coronavirus 19 Update from Superintendent Foley

Text of Dr. Foley's letter 3/12/2020

Dear RSU5 Families,

Today, Maine has reported one presumed positive case of Coronavirus 19 in Androscoggin County. The Maine Center for Disease Control (Maine CDC) says we are not yet seeing widespread community transmission in Maine. However, Governor Mills provided some recommendations today that we will be following in RSU5.

Governor Mills is not recommending schools be closed, so our focus is to continue to educate our schools while keeping them healthy and safe. We continue to take the following steps to protect our students and staff:

  • Enhanced cleaning of frequently touched surfaces in our schools.

  • Limiting public access to student gatherings.

  • Encouraging everyone – students, staff, school volunteers and visitors – to wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  • Encouraging everyone to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

  • Encouraging everyone to avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick. Encouraging those who are sick to keep their distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

  • Practicing other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Limiting public access to gatherings and activities
On the advice from the Department of Education (DOE) and from Governor Mills, we are canceling all gatherings that involve bringing large groups of people into the schools (e.g. concerts, plays, inter-district activities) for the upcoming month. In addition, we are canceling all out of state trips and oversee trips that were planned. Smaller gatherings will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Parent-Teacher Conferences
We will proceed with our scheduled parent-teacher conferences at this time. We ask parents/guardians who are sick or exhibiting symptoms to conduct their conference over the phone or reschedule. 

Share Your Travel History
RSU5 families and staff should alert the school nurse if they’ve traveled to countries that have Centers for Disease Control (CDC) alert or warning level health notices, or have been in close contact with someone who has. You can find information about CDC travel alerts at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

Students Ill or Immunocompromised
Any child exhibiting signs of COVID-19 (fever, dry cough, sore throat and shortness of breath) while at school will be kept in a safe area of the school away from other students or staff until a parent or guardian can take them home. Any student with a fever should stay home until they are fever-free without medication for 24 hours. Parents of students whose immune systems are compromised have discretion on whether to send their child to school. If you do not send your child to school due to concerns about contracting the virus, the absence will be excused.

School Closings
In the event that schools need to be closed, we will develop plans to provide students with learning
materials to use at home. For students in grades 6-12 with one-to-one devices, this plan will
include the development of tech-enabled solutions.

This is a constantly changing landscape that will require us to all work together. I will continue to update you as things evolve. You can go to the link on our website for the most recent communications at https://www.rsu5.org/Content2/640

I will be meeting with superintendents from across Cumberland County tomorrow morning to make further decisions regarding other upcoming events and to work on the establishment of a common protocol for these decisions to be made across our region while allowing for local exceptions to be made. Please know that the safety and health of our students is always first and foremost in our minds.
 

Sincerely,
 

Becky Foley
Superintendent





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