Reopening Policy 2020-2021
Most Recent Date of Review: January 9, 2023
Dear Parents & Guardians,
We are excited to have our students return in September, I want to use the opportunity of this letter to share our plans for the opening of school. Throughout the last months, we have sought the advice of experts including recommendations from the Maine Department of Education and the Maine CDC. These conversations have been wide-ranging, and they have shaped our thinking for the coming year as we respond to evolving state guidelines and best practices on COVID-19.
Highlights include: a carefully designed strategy for screening, testing, and retesting; a revised calendar featuring opening day for all students on Tuesday, September 8 and an academic schedule that will support the same high quality of learning and enable a smooth transition to online learning should that be necessary. We are expecting that there will be adjustments as additional information is provided to us by state agencies, and we will update you as those modifications occur.
A. Community Health
As we look to the fall, we will seek to protect the health of students and staff, especially those most vulnerable to infection, with overlapping layers of protection. We will provide additional details on our comprehensive approach to health safety as new information is available. Each of the measures outlined below by itself is imperfect, but together, and working in support of one another, we expect them to be highly effective in reducing the risk of infection. They include:
1. A Screening Program
Students, faculty and staff will be regularly screened for elevated temperatures and assessed for symptoms of COVID-19 at home prior to getting on the bus or school and then again before entering the building. We will also be participating in the pooling testing. Once a week, we will be randomly testing staff and students. By providing a rigorous screening protocol, the risk of disease transmission will decrease and will allow for school to remain in session.
2. Face Coverings
Students, faculty, and staff will be recommended to wear face masks/face shields all day, but required on the bus ride to and from school. This policy is currently under development and will be in keeping with Maine state guidelines. We will not be required to wear them while eating lunch or outside at recess.
3. Hand Hygiene
To lessen the risk, hand washing and hand sanitizing will be encouraged throughout the school day. We have installed additional dispensers located in hallways, bathrooms, and classrooms and disinfecting wipes will be located in every classroom. We will be sanitizing before and after we go out to recess or when leaving rooms.
4. Disinfection of Surfaces
Surfaces such as desktops will be wiped down after each class to lessen the risk of any contamination. Bathrooms, railings, door knobs and other high-touch surfaces will be regularly washed as well. Deeper cleaning will occur weekly.
B. Social Distancing
It is clear that maintaining social distance in indoor spaces and classrooms is a critically important step in reducing the risk of infection. We will be following recommendations set forth by the Maine CDC guidelines.
C. The Academic Program
We are going to continue to follow the “Framework” set forth by our Governor to open our school. There are three categories that our county can be identified based on potential risks. These levels are Green, Yellow(Hybrid) and Red. For Jonesboro Elementary School this is what each level will look like.
Screening staff and students prior to coming in the building
Increased sanitation throughout the building
Maintaining social distancing
Yellow Level - Our ‘Hybrid” model will have in-person from 8 am through 11 am and remote learning for those not comfortable coming to school, five days a week as well as safety protocols.
Red Level - Our fully remote learning model will take place online utilizing Google Classroom and Zoom for instruction with daily interaction by our teachers. Meals for students will be provided and delivered.
We are also mindful that we must be flexible and will be taking our ultimate direction from the Maine Department of Education and the Maine CDC.
D. Remote Learning
Our goal is more than simply starting school in the fall; it is to remain at school throughout the school year. However, should we have to adopt online learning due to circumstances beyond our control, we are prepared to make that shift with as little interruption as possible.
The coming school year will be different than years past, and it will undoubtedly demand a bit more from each of us. We have to remain as positive as possible to help ease any angst our children may be having. Their emotional well being is incredibly important for their physical health. We will need to increase their understanding of how good hygiene practices and being healthy helps fight off most illnesses. We want to increase their understanding about germs and viruses while decreasing their anxiety.
Jonesboro Elementary School