14 January, 2022
Dear Parents, Students, and Staff;
I wanted to provide you with a brief update on how I and our leadership teams are monitoring the impact of COVID-19 and our ability to remain safely open for in person learning.
Superintendents meet regularly with their regional members and the Maine Department of Education for updated information and recommendations from the Maine CDC.
School Administrators consult with the School Nurse and with me with recommendations about our ability to remain safely open. School Administrators know their schools and staff, and have developed coverage plans to help combat staffing shortages. This is a fluid situation that we monitor closely as it depends on a number of factors including but not limited to: how many people are out, who is out, what day it is, and if we can cover the classes.
I consult with transportation – there is a shortage of drivers throughout Maine and beyond. Naturally if we cannot get our students to school in a reasonable amount of time, we would need to switch to remote learning.
I’ve begun to field a few questions about closing school down and switching to remote instruction and “What is the metric for making that decision?” The answer is, frustratingly I know, that there is no single metric as each situation and each school community is unique. The ongoing balancing act between maintaining instructional engagement, and the sustainability of safely maintaining in person learning with staffing shortages and providing related services is a moving target that requires constant monitoring and adjustment. I want to thank our staff, administration, and all of you for making the effort in making this work as well as it has to this point!
I’m committed to enacting the boards wishes for in person instruction whenever safely possible for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, the following:
Schools are, statistically speaking, are one of the safest places for our students to be. That sentiment has been echoed by the Maine CDC as well as through looking at our local COVID-19 numbers.
Maine in the midst of a mental health crisis and the ability to see students and families in person and provide related services is more important now than ever.
Remote learning is very challenging for many of our students and nearly impossible for some. It is also a challenge to monitor engagement and even attendance on remote days.
Please stay tuned for more updates as new information becomes available. Thank you again for your continued cooperation during these trying times and for your understanding of when we all need to make sudden adjustments based on the latest information available to us.
Contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions that you’d like to discuss.
Robert Kahler, Superintendent