March 13, 2020
Dear MSAD 60 Families,
We have been in regular contact with the CDC and other health representatives regarding COVID-19. As you may be aware, Governor Mills has requested suspension of gatherings of 250 or more. During the press conference Governor Mills told us that this case of COVID-19 does not necessitate the closure of Maine schools at this time; however, local condition is a factor each district will need to consider.
Today was less than an easy day in our schools. While student attendance throughout the district ranged from 86 to 90%, there were 66 absent staff members across most departments - teachers, food service, custodial, drivers - for various reasons. March usually ranks as the highest absentee month each year (typical colds, strep, and flus), but we are experiencing an unusual spike in adult absenteeism right now. Those adults may be sick themselves with the typical winter illnesses, but additionally, some staff have compromised immune systems. Others may have college-age students who have been sent home from those institutions. Many of those returning college students who attend out of state schools are coming home with directives to self quarantine. This has caused several staff members additional home issues with which they must grapple.
Due to several factors, I have decided that Monday, March 16 will be a “Teacher Workshop Day”. Teachers and educational technicians will report to schools /departments to complete their plans for distance learning in the event of any extended school closure. This is not an overreaction, this an opportunity to be fully prepared. Other staffs will report to their departments to begin a more indepth cleaning protocol.
As soon as we have any different information that affects MSAD 60’s operation we will send out a communication to you through the School Messenger system. If we close schools I will send you information about our plans and a timeline for closure. Your school principals will also provide information about learning details.
Please continue to prevent the spread of illness. Wash your hands, cough into your sleeve, stay home if you are sick, consult with your health care provider and monitor information available through the CDC https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/. If you have questions about COVID-19, please call 211. If you have questions about your personal health, please call your healthcare professional. Thank you in advance for helping us follow through with our Strategic Plan Focus Area Four: Healthy and Safe Schools Support Success. We are all doing our part to keep students and staff healthy. If you have questions, I would ask that you contact your child’s principal by school phone or email. I will also be available at the Central Office.
Below, please find suggested technology guidelines for K-5 students from Technology Director Chris Russo.
Superintendent of Schools
Dear MSAD 60 Parents of K-5 Students,
In the event of a future extended school closure we will begin sending home your child's school-issued computer/iPad and the charger starting today. We realize that this is likely the first time your child will be responsible for transporting a computer to and from school each day. These are extraordinary circumstances.
Here are some guidelines that will help you and your student with this new responsibility.
iPads - Kindergarten & 1st Grade Students:
1. We will ask that the iPad goes back and forth to school with your child each day.
2. In order to protect the screen, please “sandwich” the student iPad between the additional books which are also being sent home. The cases which we use do not have screen protection, as this was not originally intended to be a take home device.
3. Charging cords - please keep the charging cord at home until further notice.
4. Charging - please charge the device overnight. The devices will hold enough charge to get students through the school day.
5. Please establish a location for your child to use the device at home. While in school, students use their desks as their workstation. At home, a table, counter space, etc. could be designated as the workstation. The purpose of designating a space is to limit damage to the device and to help your student “work from home” if needed.
6.There is a filtering system on the device. No filter is 100% effective, and students should only use the devices in a supervised, common area. In addition, the iPads do not have a web browser on them. By design, student use is limited to approved Apps only. Your child is already familiar with the apps he/she may access (i.e. Lexia, Epic, and Google apps).
7.If the device is damaged or you need technical support please email the Technology Help Desk at Techsupport@msad60.org
Chromebooks - 2nd Grade through 5th Grade
1.We will ask that the Chromebook goes back and forth to school with your child each day.
2.We realize that the Chromebooks do not have cases. Please do your best to help your child protect the Chromebook while it is in transit.
3.Your child should carry the Chromebook in his/her backpack.
4.Charging cords- Please keep the charging cord at home until further notice.
5.Charging- Please charge the device overnight. The devices will hold enough charge to get students through the school day.
6.Please establish a location for your student to use the device at home. While in school, students use their desks as their workstation. At home, a table, counter space, etc. could be designated as the workstation. The purpose of designating a space is to limit damage to the device and to help your student “work from home” if needed.
7.There is a filtering application on the computer. It filters content based on category and is on at all times. No filter is 100% effective and students should only use the devices in a supervised, common area.
8.If the device is damaged or you need technical support please email the Technology Help Desk at Techsupport@msad60.org
As a district, we have been sending devices home with students in grade 6-12 for many years. Inevitably, some devices may be damaged in the process of transporting them or using them at home. We will address damage through the tech HelpDesk on a case by case basis. Please notify us as soon as possible about any damage. We just ask that students use the devices for educational purposes only and treat them carefully. Families would only be charged for device repair/replacement in the event of willful damage or loss of the device. In advance, we thank you for your help and support during this situation.
Director of Technology