Dear RSU 5 Families and Staff,
I hope that the April vacation brought opportunities for you and your family to take a break from remote learning and enjoy the early signs of spring.
On April 1, the RSU 5 Board of Directors approved our Remote Learning Plan. Since our first day out on March 16, we immediately started planning for the possibility that distance learning could continue for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Our first phase was to provide meals to all students and make sure that our students had internet access for remote learning. Our second phase focused on teachers connecting remotely with students to offer live instruction, and to ensure that new learning continued. We continue to adjust our course of instruction as needed. Our final phase will be to finish strong with teaching and learning until June 19. To keep all students engaged in meaningful learning, much of the learning in June will be focused on projects or interdisciplinary learning, depending on the level of the students. Each principal will communicate more specifics about what the plan entails.
All staff continue to work diligently in their respective roles. There have been questions about why support staff are continuing to be paid their full salaries when they are unable to work all of their hours. This is due to the Executive Order that Governor Mills signed and issued on March 31. While some districts have allowed their essential staff to not work at all during this period, staff in RSU 5 have followed physical distancing guidelines, and are cleaning our buildings, completing deferred maintenance projects, and feeding our students. Other support staff are working remotely, assisting students emotionally and academically through phone calls, emails, or Zoom meetings.
On April 8, Commissioner Makin recommended that all schools continue with remote learning for the remainder of the year, as the data indicated that there would not be a path for having our students return to our classrooms before finishing for the summer. An earlier announcement from her informed us that she will waive the minimum number of student days for this school year due to the pandemic as long as districts have a Remote Learning Plan. Districts across the State are now choosing to end school at varying times. Some are closing a few weeks early and using that time to help only the students who are struggling. Others are using the weeks for professional development for staff. To lessen summer learning loss for all students, we have chosen to continue with remote learning until June 19, our last regularly scheduled day due to our
four snow days used earlier this year.
There are many questions remaining about the budget. We currently have a Board adopted budget. The budget brochure was recently mailed to every household in the District. Since the brochure was published, we have revised the budget timeline due to the State’s revised schedule for elections. The new dates are as follows:
• Annual Budget Meeting - June 17, 2020 @ Freeport High School
• Budget Validation Referendum - July 14, 2020
These dates are still subject to change. I will keep you updated as daily life continues to evolve and revised dates can be accessed through the budget timeline. The Board will also be discussing the budget at the April 29 Board meeting which you can access via Zoom.
Thank you for all you are doing to support your child as we continue with remote learning. I hope you and your family are able to stay well, and will reach out when you need additional support for your child.
Take care and be well,