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.