Text of Dr. Foley's letter 3/14/2020 - Closing of Schools till 3/30/2020
Dear RSU 5 Families and Staff,
I am writing to inform you that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be closing all of our schools for two weeks beginning on Monday, March 16th through Friday, March 27, with decisions on potential longer closures to be made at that time. This applies to all RSU5 facilities, including Community Programs and the Laugh and Learn Program. The immediate plan is for all programs to resume on Monday, March 30th.
After consulting with the Department of Education, other Cumberland County superintendents, and my administrative team, I have determined that this closure is the only responsible action to take. This closure is in response to the call by medical professionals to implement practices of social distancing as we all work to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This closure is not the result of any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our immediate community, though we know the virus is present in Cumberland and Androscoggin County. We are taking this proactive approach out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 cases in Maine. This will also allow time to disinfect all of our buildings and buses.
On Monday, staff will report to work as usual and will participate in professional development activities in order to provide the best possible remote learning opportunities for students. On Wednesday, March 18, remote learning will begin with teachers providing lessons to students and/or parents. Additionally, meal programming will begin on Wednesday, March 18th. Further information about this will follow in the next couple of days.
We know remote learning will not fully replace the classroom settings that students experience each day. We also know this will be “messy” at times – especially in the first few days – but we are determined to continue to provide learning opportunities for all students, and we ask for your patience and flexibility as we work through what will likely be many kinks in this process. We are aware of the fact that closing schools will be a hardship for all families. For our most disadvantaged community members, it will represent an even greater hardship.
Students and parents will be able to drop by the schools at times designated by your school principal. Please be on the lookout for follow-up letters from your child’s principal.
During this closure, we ask that you assist by minimizing group meetings of students and adults. Practicing social distancing and good personal hygiene are the two greatest steps we can take to protect our community from the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to stay in touch with you throughout these remote learning days. We understand this is a time of great uncertainty, and are here to support you and your children while at the same time doing our best to insure healthy practices for all in the community.