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9.11.2020, 3rd Informational Letter of 2020-2021 School Year: Start of School Reminders
9.11.2020, 3rd Informational Letter of 2020-2021 School Year: Start of School Reminders
Gregg Palmer
Monday, September 07, 2020

City Seal pre1998

BREWER SCHOOL DEPARTMENT

Brewer, Maine 04412

9.11.2020

Dear Brewer Schools’ Families,

I tried to send this letter at the start of the week, but not everyone on our list received it so I’ve updated it based on the last few days and am trying again. This hopefully models our resiliency message we are embracing for this school year!

But first, I hope you and your family have experienced a good start to the school year. The Brewer School Department has worked hard to try and have a positive transition into our hybrid schedule. We felt good about the first two days of school on Thursday, September 3 and Friday, September 4 and the four school days following the Labor Day weekend. 

The first reminder is that this is the link to our parent guide that covers a variety of issues. We will periodically update this guide to reflect new information received through the Maine Center for Disease Control (MCDC) and the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) as well as updates to our own Brewer information and protocols. 

The second reminder is to please hold your student at home if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Here is a section out of our parent guide:

Before students get on the bus or head to school, parents or caregivers must conduct prescreening of symptoms. Here is a recommended pre-screening tool that families can use each morning. 

  • Please do not send your child to school if the following is true:

  • They have a fever higher than 100.4 or within the past 24 hours or have taken any fever reducing medications

  • They feel sick with these symptoms: chills, body aches, sore throat, cough, loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, swelling or redness of hands/feet, red eyes/eye drainage

  • They have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19

It is very important to help us out with this aspect of our safety protocols. Please call your student’s school and ask for the nurse to report any illness or ask any questions you may have. 

The third reminder, also in our parent guide, is around privacy and our remote learners ability to participate in live classrooms in middle and high school classrooms. It is imperative that we all observe strict privacy for these classrooms. Please remember that, if we were not in a COVID adjusted world, our classrooms must abide by privacy laws to protect our students and staff. Nothing has changed in an online classroom. If you have any questions please call us, and if you have any reason to want to visit a classroom then contact the building administrator ahead of time so a visit can be arranged. Below is an excerpt from our parent guide:

  • To respect the privacy of other students in the class meetings, parents are encouraged to treat these sessions like a “normal” in-person class where they would not be present and to observe other boundaries of a regular instructional day/session. Serious privacy issues demand that parents/guardians contact building administration should they want to visit a classroom with advance notice. 

  • Recording of sessions is not allowed due to student privacy.

Our fourth reminder is around travel, and we’ve added a short section on this in the guide. Coming off the Labor Day weekend, we wanted to draw your attention to the state guidelines -- that all school districts must follow -- that say if your family traveled out of state there could be restrictions before students reenter school. This section of the parent guide is excerpted here:

TRAVEL

  • Those traveling out of state may need to quarantine for 14 days or have a test done depending on where they've travelled. Currently NH, VT, NY, NJ and CT are okay, per the most recent version of the Keep Maine Healthy plan. This list will likely be in flux, so checking with the school nurse will be the easiest way to know for sure. Here is a link to the State of Maine information:

https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mec...

The fifth reminder is that, for BHS parents whose student attends United Technology Center (UTC), Principal Slowikowski and Assistant Principal Walker have done a great job arranging transportation for anyone who requires it based on their schedule. With most schools (as well as UTC) using the hybrid approach, there isn’t a perfect match on days that students attend UTC and have morning or afternoon classes at the high school. But we are providing transportation for any student who needs it. The system is up and running to accommodate all our great students who attend UTC. Thanks to Brewer High School for making this happen from day one. 

Our sixth and final reminder is that our partnerships with the Brewer Rec and the Bangor YMCA are up and running. It is our hope that we will be able to support families financially in order to access these programs. Please contact the Rec or the Y for registration information. We want to make sure every student is in a quality day program when they’re not physically at school, so also call us with any questions. 

In these early days of school reopening we want to be cautious and err on the side of physical safety. If you have any questions not covered in this letter please call and we’ll work through your situation together. 

Here is the opening year calendar starting with this week:

  • Monday, September 14 through Friday, September 18:  The first 5-day week with group A attending school on Monday, September 14 and Thursday, September 17 and group B attending Tuesday, September 15 and Friday, September 18. Wednesday, September 16 is our first flex day of this year’s calendar. 

  • The Brewer School Committee will have its regular meeting on Monday, September 14 at 6:00 p.m. A link will be posted on our website. 

If you and your student(s) haven’t watched our district safety videos please do. The administrative team spent time in August creating these videos that emphasize key safety features and to set the tone for the high level of cooperation we need in order to make our plan work.

I hope you all experienced a positive opening last week. While we wouldn’t have chosen this scenario, our staff is top notch and our students are clearly making the effort to cooperate in order to help keep us all safe and in school with as few disruptions as possible. That is a reflection of their families who are doing the same. 

More updates will be coming. 

 

Sincerely,

Gregg Palmer, Superintendent of Schools