Reopening plans update 2: June 8, 2020
Thank you for the positive feedback on receiving the first update on the reopening plans. We have received some questions and I think the answers may be helpful for all. Additionally, we plan to provide a way to submit FAQ questions as we continue to plan and I will share the link once created.
Here are the questions to date:
Can’t the Bangor School Department disregard the state guidelines and return to school normally?
Unfortunately, this is not possible given the information we have to date. If something changes, we will let you know. However at this time, the Bangor School Department must create a reopening plan that meets the guidelines of the Maine CDC and the Maine Department of Education (MDOE). We do not have this guidance yet, but are currently using the U.S. CDC guidance and the MDOE summer school guidance. This CDC guidance is basically what schools across the nation are using to plan for their reopening.
If we were to disregard the guidance and simply reopen the schools, we would potentially face the schools being closed down and/or jeopardize state and federal funding. These are the sanctions most usually faced when not following state guidance.
Will medical staff be consulted on the reopening plans?
Yes, Patty Hamilton, Director of Public Health, and Dr. Kristen Martin, BSD school physician, are advising us on our plans. Further, I meet weekly with the Community Health Leadership Board with the heads of all area health organizations on COVID-19 plans as well as other health issues. Further, our five BSD school nurses are providing input for the reopening plan.
The MDOE summer school guidance was developed by:
- Derilyn Nelson, RN, BSN – AOS 93
- Rhonda Johnson, RN, BSN – MSAD 55
- Erin Taylor, MS, BSN, RN – Cape Elizabeth School Department
- Tracy Pinkham, R.N. – RSU 10
- Tammy Diaz, M.Ed, RN- Winslow Public Schools
- Gretchen Kuhn BS, RN, NCSN
- Chris Balchunas, RN- MSAD 61
- Amy Creighton, RN, MSN – MSAD 60
- Jessica Morgan, RN, BS – Saco School Department
- Cathleen Samborski, RN, BSN – Kents Hill School
- Teresa Merrill, RN, BS – Gorham School Department
- Nicole Pinkham, RN – RSU 10
With staggered schedules, will siblings be going to school on the same days in order to avoid multiple schedules for our family?
Yes, we are working on schedules, which prioritize siblings going to school on the same day.
How were the parents selected to participate on the Committee?
The parents on the Committee volunteered to assist with the annual application of the Every Student Succeeds Act, formerly called the No Child Left Behind Act, to review and provide input on the BSD application for federal funds. The reopening plans also include the application for federal funds under the CARES Act. In addition, two high school parents were added to the Committee as title funds under the Every Student Succeeds Act are focused at the lower grade levels. We are thankful to the parents who are participating and providing their input and feedback. It is a well-balanced group.
If you are interested in participating in other Committees in the future, please let your principal know and we will keep a list ready for future reference.
Will parents be able to provide input into the plan?
Yes, our hope in sharing the reopening plans updates is to keep our community informed of the thinking along the way. We shared the Committee Members and if you have input, please contact any member, email me, or during public comment scheduled at the beginning of School Committee meetings.
Again, thank you for your support and positive feedback. Together, we will figure this out. I think it is important to clarify the Planning Committee, nor the Bangor School Department, created the CDC Guidance or MDOE summer school guidance. If you do not agree with their guidance, it would be important to contact them directly as we do not have authority over their determinations.
Betsy M. Webb, Ed.D.