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Getting to GREEN Ad Hoc Group Letter

posted Mar 16, 2021, 6:37 AM by Fran Prentice   [ updated Mar 16, 2021, 6:37 AM ]

March 16, 2021


Dear MSAD #51 School Community,

One year after COVID-19 shut our schools down to in-person learning for three months, everyone is collectively exhausted by the pandemic, but there is hope at the end of the tunnel given the acceleration of the vaccine.  Our teachers, staff, and administrators have risen to the challenge and done the best job anyone could have asked given the health emergency we have faced. I am so grateful for the way our schools and staff have met kids' needs despite so many obstacles during this unprecedented time. I am also grateful to our parents and families for hanging in there with us for a year, riding this roller coaster with us and trusting us with the safety of their children while maintaining patience with all sorts of schedule changes.

We have all weathered this storm the best we know how and kept our schools open for the vast majority of the school year, despite 77 positive COVID cases and well over 1,000 quarantines since September 8. All of us want our kids back in school full-time.  We know that is the best place for them and that learning has been diminished this year due to the pandemic and health and safety procedures that had to be in place in order to accomplish any in-person learning at all. It is my sincere hope that we can get our kids back in school full-time as soon as it is safe and permissible to do so. Until then, it is important that we assume that everyone is trying to do their best given these challenging circumstances.

On Monday night, the Board accepted my recommendation to form an ad hoc stakeholder advisory group to continue the thoughtful and careful process of "Getting to GREEN" as we prepare for the transition to fully re-opening our schools again. This advisory group will be charged with reviewing our current context and making a recommendation to the Board as to next steps, whatever (and whenever) these steps can safely occur.  We are still bound by the state's physical distancing rule of 3-6' and that will be the largest hurdle, but this group can look at other possibilities for slowly increasing in-learning while helping to prepare for the upcoming school year.

Also last night, I presented the proposed 2021-22 SAD budget that focuses heavily on instruction and academics while providing provisions for a 100% return to in-person learning in September.

Here is some more information regarding the advisory group’s outcome, membership, and timeline:

OUTCOME:  To bring a recommendation to the Board of Directors with a revised Pandemic Response Plan that transitions the district to GREEN as soon as it is practicable to do so within the parameters of current state health and safety mandates.

MEMBERSHIP:

  • 2 High school students selected by High School administration
  • 2 Board members selected by Board Chair
  • 4 Staff members selected by Education Association-1 per school
  • 4 Parents/Guardians selected by an “all call”- 1 per school (please complete form)
  • 4 Building-level Administrators-1 per school
  • 1 District physician 
  • 1 School Nurse
  • 1 Mental Health team member
  • 3 District Administrators (Directors of Finance/Operations/HR, Instructional Support, Academic Services) 
  • Superintendent (ex officio)

If you are a parent/guardian and are interested in joining this advisory group, please fill out this brief FORM no later than Friday, March 19 by 8:00 AM.  Please note that the tentative first meeting for the advisory group is Monday, March 22, 6:00-7:30 PM (virtual). Subsequent meeting dates will be determined by the group.

Thank you for your continued support of our school community.

Sincerely,

Jeff Porter
Superintendent of Schools