DISTRICT CORONAVIRUS SUPPORT AND INFORMATION
To the District Community:
From March 10th on, all information provided by the district will be found here (rsu35.org). It will be posted on each school’s website and all of the Facebook pages the district is able to use. The most current information will be at the top of the page.
March 26, 2020
The last three weeks have been a whirlwind for all of us. Things that we took for granted late in February have become precious to all of us, as our country navigates this trying time. The patience and understanding our community has shown to our schools is truly appreciated. Our teachers continue to create exciting content for students. It is truly a testament to our community and staff that our remote learning program is up and running so well. Please understand that as our time away from a traditional school setting grows, our staff will be working to update and evolve our distance-learning program. Our systems and processes are being continuously evaluated in order to best meet the needs of all of our students given our current constraints. Again, I would be remiss if I didn’t express my gratitude to all of our staff for their commitment to providing a meaningful educational setting for our students.
On Tuesday, Governor Janet Mills held a press conference to update the State of Maine on the COVID 19 pandemic. As part of that press conference, Governor Mills required “all non-essential businesses close their physical locations that are public facing, meaning those that allow customer, vendor, or other in-person contact.” For clarity, MSAD 35 is considered essential under the Governor’s requirements. With that being said, the district will be taking additional precautions to provide the safest environment for our staff and the community. On Monday, March 30th, all district offices will begin providing support remotely. All school administration will be available by phone, but our buildings will be completely closed to the public. The needs for students ranging from Pre-Kindergarten to seniors in high school are extremely diverse. Therefore, each school will create plans on how to best meet the needs of their students, while honoring the Center for Disease Control recommendations, which limits the number of people in close proximity.
All members of our community are experiencing challenges due to this pandemic. Therefore, MSAD 35 will be offering an expanded opportunity through our food service department. Also beginning Monday, March 30, 2020, Eliot Elementary School and Central Elementary School will establish a free drive-through meal pick-up program between 9:00 am and 11:00 am. This will allow families the opportunity to visit either school and receive a breakfast and lunch at no charge for anyone in their household 18 or under, whether they attend Marshwood or not. We will also continue to offer our traditional meal program and meal drop off that was established last week. If your situation has changed and you would like to apply for free or reduced price meals, please use this link: http://www.rsu35.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Free-and-Reduced-Price-School-Meal-Application-for-SY-2019.pdf
Finally, on Wednesday, April 1st, I will be presenting my proposed school calendar for the remainder of the school year. The School Board will vote on the calendar that evening. I will provide an update to the community regarding the school calendar next Thursday. That update will include the scheduled last day of school.
It is my intent to continue to provide a weekly update to our community. In the event that important information becomes available, I will continue to provide additional updates as quickly as possible. We are all struggling with unknowns and ever-changing information. Our staff truly appreciates your patience and continued support.
A message from MSAD 35 MAINE
March 18, 2020
I wanted to reach out to the community to provide an update with regard to MSAD 35 and how we are working to manage the current pandemic. I first need to share my heartfelt thank you for the outpouring of support that the community has provided for our students and staff. These are difficult times and I am so honored and proud to be a member of this wonderful community. Words cannot express the admiration I have for our district staff. To the bus drivers and food service workers that are delivering food to our families; to the custodians that are working to maintain the hygiene of our buildings; to our district nursing staff that are working around the clock to provide the most up to date CDC recommendations & medical information, and to our teachers, support staff and building administrators who are tirelessly working to create a remote learning experience for our students, I want to thank you all for the work you are doing. I also want thank our families, as our lives have been drastically altered in the past two weeks. Your patience and understanding is truly appreciated.
As a community, COVID – 19 has created a stressful environment. Please find the time to take care of yourself, your families and each other. Our community is a special place, and it is that way because of the people who live here. The Marshwood Schools will continue to work to support our families and students.
The Maine Commissioner of Education shared the following information regarding the status of schools:
“As you know, Governor Mills provided a recommendation that Maine schools cease classroom-based instruction as soon as practicable and for the duration of our state of civil emergency (which is for 30 days).”
Speaking directly with the Department of Education at 2:00 pm this afternoon, they have said at this point in time they are recommending that schools not be in session for 30 days; that may change as they reevaluate the CDC recommendations- it may increase or decrease.
I realize that some districts are sending out messages about students not returning to school until late April; although that may happen shortly, I feel the most prudent course of action is to monitor this situation over the next 48 to 72 hours and then notify the community of our next steps.
Superintended of Schools
A message from MSAD 35 MAINE
March 15, 2020 evening
Dear Families and Staff,
The MSAD 35 District Nurses would like to offer whatever help we can to you during our school closure. We will all be available via email (contact info below). We will do our best to address any questions and concerns that you will likely have, however we offer the following guidelines:
If your family member has respiratory symptoms and a fever, you will need to call your primary care doctor or call a walk-in clinic for guidance.
If you think you have been exposed to the Coronavirus please do the same.
If you have or any members of your family have been tested for Coronavirus and have been asked to quarantine at home, please notify your student’s nurse(s).
If you have or any family members have been asked to quarantine and HAVE NOT been tested, please notify your student’s nurse(s). (These instructions to quarantine may have been given to you over the phone when you called in to your primary care doctor or walk-in.)
If you have general questions about Coronavirus, the Maine 211 hotline is an excellent resource. They can answer FAQs and provide information that has been released by the Maine CDC. If you dial 211 and a person in NH answers, please ask to be transferred to Maine 211. You can also text them at 898211 and enter your zip code in the message box. If you have a rotary phone you can dial 866-811-5695.
If you have been asked to quarantine at home what does that mean? What does Isolation mean?
Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of people who may
have been exposed to a contagious illness, but do not have symptoms. In the
case of coronavirus this quarantine has been set at 14 days.
Here is a BBC Video (https://www.bbc.com/news/av/health-51652874/coronavirus-how-to-self-isolate) on how to quarantine at home. (the words self-isolate in the video are used interchangeably with quarantine).
Isolation. If a person is diagnosed with a contagious illness, they are then directed to isolate which is a strategy used to separate people who are sick with a contagious illness from those who are healthy. So, quarantine applies to well people and isolation applies to infected people.
Another concept we are all becoming familiar with is social distancing. What does that mean?
Social distancing is a public health practice that aims to prevent sick people from coming in close contact with healthy people in order to reduce opportunities for disease transmission. It can include large-scale measures like canceling group events or closing public spaces, as well as individual decisions such as avoiding crowds and crowded spaces. Our school closure is an example of social distancing. Other measures include no hugs, no handshakes and maintaining a six foot distance between people.
Can I pick up my child’s meds from school?
Please do! In order to minimize traffic into the buildings we ask that you please try to pick them up Monday or Tuesday. Please try to contact us ahead of time so that you can be sure the nurse is in and can meet with you.
What else can I do?
- Staying home when ill
- Coughing into elbow
- Telecommute if possible
- Get a Flu Shot
- Strictly avoid non-urgent outpatient visits
- Consult with your primary care doctor regarding rescheduling elective surgery
- Check on your neighbors… Use the phone, get some air chatting across the yard.
- Check on elders in your life. Do they need meds, food, assistance?
- Keep informed. Reach out to us with any questions. Check the Maine CDC. Be mindful of too much news consumption. It can be overwhelming for us as adults and certainly for kids.
Our awesome Social Workers are working on resources for Cultivating Calm. We’ll send them out to you.
In summary, we are all facing some very challenging and unsettling times. We need to act deliberately and thoughtfully with a profound respect for the scientists working to help us. We need to think in terms of our community and by this we mean locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Our actions can impact our community. Please be patient with yourselves, each other and with your children. We will update you at least weekly but more frequently as needed. In the meantime please feel free to contact us.
Judy Doran RN MMS 439-1399 email@example.com
Laura Detwiler RN CES 384-2333 Laura.firstname.lastname@example.org
Kasey Callahan RN EES 439- 9004 email@example.com
Tawni Petrungaro RN MHS 384-4500 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lori Scelza RN MGWS 384-4010 email@example.com
MAINE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIVE DISTRICT #35
Serving the communities of Eliot & South Berwick
John S. Caverly, M.Ed.
13 March 2020
Firstly, I want to reach out and thank this wonderful community. Over the past few months, the world has been challenged as we all work to deal with this pandemic. Staff, students, families and community members across Eliot, South Berwick and Rollinsford have worked together to navigate this difficult time. I appreciate the level of understanding and support that our school district has received and I am asking for that patience to continue. Unfortunately, the upcoming days are going to present challenges for families, students and our community as a whole. The information and guidance from Federal, State and Local agencies is changing by the hour. I will continue to provide updates as timely as I possibly can.
As you may know, yesterday Governor Mills recommended that we eliminate all nonessential indoor gatherings of more than 250 people. Earlier this morning, the Maine Principal’s Association delayed the start of the Spring Sports Season until April 27, 2020. In light of both of these announcements, MSAD 35 will be canceling all after school activities beginning Monday, March 16th, 2020 for the foreseeable future; we will revisit this decision on April 3rd. Also, beginning Monday, the late bus will no longer be making its afternoon runs. This is not a decision that I take lightly, but our priority remains providing the safest environment possible.
In addition, we have begun to work with students to ensure they have access to technology at home; in the event that Internet service is not available, we will be working with families to provide solutions for students that will enable learning to occur remotely.
Please continue to check your email over the weekend, as information and recommendations may evolve.
March 12, 2020
I would like to provide the community with an update on how the Marshwood School District is managing the Coronavirus. As a district, we are continuing to follow the guidance of the medical experts at the Center for Disease Control. As their recommendations evolve, we will continue to update and provide information to our families.
On Monday, the district facilitated a meeting with our local law enforcement agencies, our local fire departments, district nurses and a representative from York Hospital. The meeting focused on sharing recommendations and creating communication plans for the future. In addition, the Maine Department of Education has been providing protocols and recommendations for school districts in the State of Maine.
The Maine Department of Education is recommending that all school districts create Education Continuity Plans that could be activated in the event that schools were to be closed. I want to be clear, at this point in time, there is no recommendation to close schools.
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to meet with our district staff to discuss the creation of an Education Continuity Plan for the Marshwood School District. This plan would allow students to access their education in the event that they were not able to attend school due to an extended closure. Once the plan is approved by the Marshwood School Board, the days that students are not able to be present in the building, but have access to their education through our Education Continuity Plan would count towards the State’s required number of school days for all students.
Yesterday, our schools began to gather data to better understand the infrastructure in place that would allow communication with students and families in the event that we need to facilitate learning away from the school building. That infrastructure focuses on two questions:
- Do students have access to technology devices that will allow them to access an online curriculum?
- Do students have access to the Internet at home?
Once that data is collected and analyzed today, we can begin to plan what remote learning may look like. In reality, not all grade levels and classes will look the same. A senior at Marshwood High School will have a much higher level of independence than a second grader at Central Elementary School.
As you can imagine, coordinating remote learning for our students is a daunting task. As the District’s Superintendent, words cannot express how proud I am of our district staff! Their level of understanding, collaboration and passion during this process is noteworthy. Teachers have started meeting by grade level and/or content area to create a plan that best meets the needs of their students. This work is ongoing. I am asking for your patience and understanding as we formulate a plan. I want to be 100% clear, at this point in time, there is no recommendation to close schools. The work that we are currently doing is in preparation of the potential closing of school buildings.
As you are all aware, the dynamics of this pandemic are constantly evolving. As always, we are focused on providing the highest quality education for our students in the safest manner possible. As I stated in my letter earlier this week, public health measures that have been in place should continue: Cover your cough, wash hands vigorously for 20 seconds, stay home if you are ill, clean surfaces, and get vaccinated against the flu virus. It is not too late to be vaccinated, and remains an important measure because strains of influenza are much more common, and are causing greater illness locally than Covid-19.
In addition, we will continue to implement our building Hygiene Plans which include a deep cleaning of the buildings each weekend. We have also limited weekend use of our school buildings by non-school related groups to allow our custodial staff the ability to properly disinfect all areas of the building to ensure students and staff the safest environment possible. We will continue to seek medical recommendations as we review our current protocol, procedures, and activities as more information becomes available.
Our building principals, nursing staff and myself will continue to provide information as it becomes available. Please understand that this is an ever-changing situation and we are attempting to be as proactive as possible with a focus on student safety. As the pandemic evolves, it will impact each and every one of us in different ways. In the midst of this, it is important to remain calm as we work together to ensure the safety and security of students and the community.
Superintendent of Schools
John S. Caverly, M.Ed.
Superintendent of Schools
March 10, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
The District wants to update you regarding the effort in the Marshwood Community to prepare for Covid-19. Each Monday, we are in communication with the Maine CDC, who reassured us that as of yesterday (03/09/20), there were no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Maine. Dr. Shah, of the Maine CDC, emphasized that each district should prepare, and anticipate the possibility of cases of Covid-19 being reported. Public health measures remain in place: Cover your cough, wash your hands vigorously for 20 seconds, stay home if you are ill, clean surfaces, and get vaccinated against the flu virus. It is still not too late to be vaccinated against influenza, and it remains an important measure because the various strains of influenza are far more common, and locally are causing greater illness than Covid-19.
Included below is an excellent, brief (4 minute) video appropriate for older children and teens which explains COVID-19, and how you can help keep yourself and those around you healthy. Please watch!
What can be done as a parent?
Please keep your child(ren) home if they are ill.
The schools will be asking that when you call in an absence for your child, please let our staff know if your child has a fever over 100.0 degrees. Your help is appreciated with the important work of monitoring our absences.
What should I do if my child is ill (with a fever over 100.4 and respiratory symptoms) and I am concerned about Covid-19?
- Call your primary care provider for guidance. Best to call first!
- If you are new to the area, and/or are between doctors, please call your school nurse who can help point you in the right direction to establish insurance and a primary care doctor for your child. Your school nurse is in touch with many local resources to help.
Keep calm and model excellent hand washing to your children. Greet one another in the community with a smile, but without a handshake!
The district has been and will continue to strictly follow CDC recommendations. We are in daily touch with regional CDC representatives, and local hospitals and we will keep you abreast of any important developments. Thank you.
Your District Nurses &
John Caverly, Superintendent
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