March 10, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As concern about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to cause havoc around the world, I believe it is essential to share with you what we know to date and what together we can do to minimize the potential impact of this illness. As of March 9, 2020, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) reported that there are no known cases of the virus in Maine. Nonetheless, it is critical to prepare for the potential spread of COVID-19 into the state and community.
You have no doubt read and heard about the virus and what we can do to minimize the risk. Steps we can practice to stop or slow down the spread of respiratory infectious diseases, including COVID-19, are:
- Washing hands often for at least 20 seconds
- Keeping your hands away from your face
- Covering coughs and sneezes
- Cleaning frequently touched surfaces
- Staying home when sick
In our schools, the custodial staff have diligently been cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are regularly touched. We have ordered additional cleaning materials. Our teachers and staff frequently remind students in all grades of the symptoms of the virus and encouraging them to wash their hands frequently. Teachers are giving thought to how they can continue with the student’s lessons and coursework, should the schools be heavily impacted with sick students or staff. A decision to close schools is a local decision that I will make after extensive consultation with the Maine Department of Education officials, the Maine CDC, and your school’s board of directors. Knowing the amount of angst and stress such a decision would cause you, I promise you that a decision to close schools would be thoroughly vetted through appropriate authorities before any such decision is announced.
We have reviewed our plans for how to respond should it become apparent that we have a significant risk of infection. School leaders have met and will continue to meet to discuss how to minimize the effect of the virus, and, from these meetings, we have plans on how to proceed.
We have included up-to-date resources on the AOS 98 website as well as the websites of your child’s school. This is a rapidly evolving threat and reviewing the frequent updates may help.
In summary, COVID-19 is a serious health emergency for leaders around the world. Until the threat is eliminated, we will remain vigilant. We are here to help you in any way that we can. Please reach out and contact your child’s principal, or you can contact me in the Central Office at 207-633-2874 if you have any questions. Hopefully, Maine will stay COVID-19 free; however, we have a plan and with your help, we will soon get past this threat to our health.
Keith S. Laser, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools