Superintendent's Report

Superintendent Report


From: Mike Tracy, Superintendent

Date: 06-04-2020

To: RSU # 74 School Board


I. Legal/Risk:

A. Current Legal Update:

N/A

II. Governance / Policy:

A. Current Local Update:

1. Next REGULAR RSU #74 Board Meeting is scheduled for July 8, at 6:00 pm

2. School District Budget Hearing/Meeting planned June 25, at 6:00 pm (CHS).

B. a. MSMA Updates:

The regional Board Chairs are invited to a regional School Board Meeting at 6:00 on June 9th, sponsored and organized by MSMA.

C. Legislative Update:

N/A However, the Maine Department of Education has offered recent guidelines on Summer Activities:


Schools intending to offer in-person instruction should ensure that decisions are aligned with state and local laws and applicable executive orders, recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be unpredictable and dynamic and that the laws, executive orders, and Department of Education (DOE) recommendations are subject to change accordingly.

A. Additional staffing recommendations:

  • School Nurse or other staff person trained by nurse
  • Social Worker or counselor
  • Additional custodial staff (increase in scope of cleaning/disinfecting per CDC protocols)
  • Student to teacher ratio not to exceed 10:1 (preferably 10:2)

B. Preparation of students, families, and staff pre-entry:

  • Ask parents/caregiver to check for symptoms each day prior to sending students (include agreement to pick student up in a timely fashion if symptoms present after the child has arrived at school)
  • Students and staff should determine their health status prior to coming to school each day

Sample self-check (as CDC determines additional symptoms, these should be added to the checklist):

  1. Do I feel unwell today?
  2. Do I have a cough or sore throat?
  3. Do I have a fever or do I feel feverish?
  4. Do I or have I had shortness of breath?
  5. Do or have I had a loss of taste or smell?
  6. Do or have I been around anyone exhibiting these symptoms within the past 14 days?
  7. Do or have I been living with anyone who is sick or quarantined?
  8. Have I been out of state in the last 14 days?
  9. Take temperature: is it 37.8 C/100 F or higher?

If the answer is yes to any of the questions, stay home.

  • Create a communication system for staff and families for self-reporting of symptoms and notification of exposures and closures
  • High risk populations should consult with healthcare provider prior to committing to in-person summer programming/extended school year (ESY)
  • School administrative units (SAUs) could provide virtual learning alternatives for students who are not able to transition into a school setting/ESY environment
  • Train all staff in the safety actions included in this document. Consider conducting the training virtually, or, if in-person, ensure that physical distancing is maintained
  • Designate a staff person to be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns. Staff should know who this person is and how to contact him/her

C. Recommendations for instructional spaces:

  • Prioritize classrooms/instructional spaces with exterior doors
  • Prioritize classrooms/instructional spaces with built-in bathroom
  • Prioritize classrooms/instructional spaces closest to bathrooms (if there are not enough classrooms with built-in bathroom)
  • Ensure that classrooms/instructional spaces have proper ventilation. Use a fan, blowing out of a window, to increase ventilation
  • Declutter classrooms/instructional spaces (necessities only)/ remove pillows, couches, sofa-type chairs, toys, rugs, and other items that would be difficult to wipe down and disinfect
  • Plan for no more than 10 students in a classroom/instructional space (fewer if classroom space will not allow 6-foot distance between desks/students)

D. Transportation Procedures:

  1. Safest mode of transportation is for students to be transported via private vehicle
  2. If school-based transportation is needed:
  • Provide plexiglass divider and/or face shield for drivers
  • Provide sanitizer and require students to sanitize hands prior to entering bus
  • Require students to fill the seats at the back of the bus first and to fill seats going forward, one student per seat (siblings who live together at home should sit together)
  • Students should exit the bus from front to back and should sanitize hands upon exit
  • Students should wear face masks on the bus per CDC guidelines
  1. Transportation procedures, logistics, and protocols should be well-communicated prior to the start of the summer program and reiterated/rehearsed often

E. Classroom/Instructional Space Procedures:

  1. Entering -
  • Stagger entry times to avoid hallway crowding
  • Ensure that students bring minimal belongings from home; these should remain with each student at a designated location (no use of lockers or cubbies)
  • Coats should be hung on the back of each student’s chair
  • Ensure 6-foot spacing during entry to building
  • Practice protocol for going directly to designated classroom/space
  • Assign entrance and exits (one-way traffic)
  • Prohibit family members and visitors from entering the building (designated drop off and pick up spots)
  • Have staff and students wash/sanitize hands prior to entering the classroom/instructional space; use tape or circle marking (or other method) to mark 6-foot spacing for lines at sinks
  • Develop plans for late arrivals to call the front office so that arrangements can be made to assist in entering
  1. Throughout the day -
  • Require that students receive permission before leaving classroom/instructional space
  • Only one student should leave the classroom/instructional space at a time.
  • Require students and teachers to adhere to 6-foot rule. Space all seating to at least six feet apart
  • Require students to wash/sanitize hands frequently throughout the day and specifically after coughing, sneezing, touching face, before/after eating or toileting
  • Provide workbooks, notebooks, and writing utensils as a kit at beginning of program rather than handing out new materials each day
  • Require staff to wipe down their computers, tablets, phones, or other frequently touched items several times a day
  • Avoid sharing personal items, electronic devices, books or learning materials among students
  1. Exiting -
  • Require students to wash/sanitize hands prior to exiting classroom/instructional space
  • Stagger dismissals to avoid hallway crowding
  1. Hygiene -
  • Clean tabletops, door handles, and other surfaces that are frequently touched prior to students entering, during any breaks or recess times, and after students exit
  • Follow CDC recommendations for: hand hygiene; cough and sneeze etiquette/hygiene; face coverings; donning and doffing of PPE; disinfecting
  • Provide handwashing/personal hygiene training to all students

F. Lunch and Snack procedure:

  • Require students and staff to eat snacks and/or lunch in designated classroom/instructional space
  • Students and staff should bring their own water bottles. Schools may consider providing bottled water also
  • Require hand washing /sanitizing before and after eating snack and/or lunch.
  • If school is providing snack or lunch: disposable packaging and utensils should be used; meals should be delivered to the classroom/instructional space in a designated bin. Each child will retrieve the food from the bin and dispose of any packaging or uneaten food in the trash
  • Bins should be collected by assigned staff and cleaned per guidelines

G. Movement within the building

  • Everyone should wash/sanitize hands when exiting or entering a new classroom/instructional space within the school
  • Manage traffic flow: use tape on floors as reminders, keeping all to the right side when moving up and down stairs (and 5 steps apart) and through the hallways
  • Help students to practice keeping hands and bodies to self
  • Maintain 6-foot distancing in all directions at all times
  • Use only assigned bathrooms (1 child at a time)
  • Limit elevator use to 1:1 student/staff at a time (use only if needed)

H. Outdoor play:

  • Playground equipment should remain off limits
  • Toys and/or accessories should not be used
  • Maintain 6-feet distancing in all directions

I. Nursing Considerations:

  • No nebulized medications permitted. If the use of inhaler is required, then student or staff must be excused to a designated area preferably outside or away from others
  • First Aid kits for classrooms (bandages, feminine hygiene, etc.)
  • Consider a call system so the nurse can meet a student outside the door of the designated classroom/instructional space to assess and address concerns
  • Designated area to isolate ill students prior to dismissal

J. Illness Policy:

  • Staff or students who show signs of illness, or have a temperature of 37.8 C/100F or higher, should not come to school or, if already at school, should go home immediately
  • Any symptoms or fever that are suggestive of illness requires students or staff to stay home or, if already at school, they should go home immediately
  • If any members of a student's or staff’s household are ill, the staff member should not come to school
  • If a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 has entered the school, follow CDC guidelines and coordinate with local health officials

K. Supplies Needed:

  • Cleaning supplies per CDC guidelines.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff caring for students who cannot maintain 6-foot distancing: Face coverings or shields, gloves, gowns
  • Soap paper towels for handwashing; hand sanitizer

L. Things to consider:

  • Prioritize ESY, Career and Technical Education, and programs that cannot operate remotely
  • Consider consolidation of summer programs in one building

D. Policy Update:

On Hold until next school year.


III. Budget and Finance:

A. State Level:

We have not officially heard of any information subsitinatively changing the allotments of state share of school funding to local schools as a result of COVID-19, however, the newest subsidy allocation was reduced by (-)$16,107.57 due to “not purchasing a school bus” this year. The total state subsidy allocation will be $4,196,731.64.


B. Finance Local:

Mr. Tracy will be visiting the local municipalities in June soon after the Board re-finalizes it. As recent as yesterday, we have heard UNOFFICIALLY that there will be a mandate from the Governor's Office which will restrict the budget process, and not allow schools to convene public hearings (ie. our school district budget meeting traditionally at the HS) as they will be off limits, and not allowed. This means that if this happens then the school Board will approve a budget (which has already occurred here in RSU #74), and then it will go to a public referendum ballot vote in sum-total on July 14th.


IV. Operations:

A. Facilities Department and Transportation:

The Facilities team has begun summer projects and cleaning and the Building and Ground Subcommittee met last week and will have an update for the full school Board.


V. Principal’s Reports: (GSS, Solon, CSS and CHS)


VI. Mr. Tracy Updates and Board Meeting Information:


Budget:

Mr. Tracy has been working with the school district Administrative Team to determine the potential savings from the school shutdown this last quarter of the school year. In spite of the fact that we have had to pay all employees under the Governor's order, we have incurred some slight savings that Mr. Tracy will discuss at the meeting. The school Board needs to determine as to whether we should hold this money and increase our “unassigned balance'' (or what we refer to as the savings account), or pass this savings onto the taxpayer’s in next year’ Balance Forward?




A Plan to close Garret Schenck Elementary School:

A discussion item is being re-presented or moved from the table at the next regularly scheduled school Board meeting. The is item is intended for the school Board to discuss whether to direct the superintendent to work with staff to developed an “RSU #74 “restructured educational plan, that could create financial sustainability for the district.” The rationale for the discussion is that, since the district reduces in size by way of student population, does it make sense to close a school? This discussion item will either prompt the administration to begin working on a plan that would ultimately make its way back to the Restructure sub committee for consideration, editing etc. before coming back to the full RSU #74 school Board to determine at a later time, does this plan make sense? And, can we still educate our children in a meaningful way -while also trying to save money by closing a school? These are the questions to ponder with the item on the agenda.



New CCS Principal/ MS AD::

Mr. Tracy is presenting a nomination to the full school Board for consideration to hire as the new CCS Principal/MS AD. Please see the hiring memo in the packet attached.






Superintendent Report


From: Mike Tracy, Superintendent

Date: 05-06-2020

To: RSU # 74 School Board


I. Legal/Risk:

A. Current Legal Update:

Correspondence received, Anson Town Letter -Will update the full school board.

II. Governance / Policy:

A. Current Local Update:

1. Next REGULAR RSU #74 Board Meeting is scheduled for June 3, at 6:00 pm

2. RSU #74 School Budget Hearing is postponed

B. a. MSMA Updates: N/A

MDOE Update:

End of Year Considerations- Unified Recommendations from Maine's Education Organization Leadership

The following common understandings and recommendations were developed through a collaborative dialogue between the leaders of Maine School Management Association (MSMA), Maine Principals Association (MPA), Maine Education Association (MEA), Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (MADSEC), Maine Curriculum Leaders Association (MCLA) and Maine Department of Education (DOE). This is provided to our colleagues in the field as a point of discussion and consideration as SAUs develop end of year plans during this pandemic.

  • We understand that some school districts and local associations have already come to mutual agreements regarding the end of the school year, for those that have not yet come to agreement, we offer the following.
  • We recognize school districts are making adjustments to the end of the school year with the best of intentions. The exact approach each district takes will vary based on the different needs, specific circumstances, culture, relationships, etc.
  • In all instances where a change is considered, the school district and the local association should be in communication and seek to collaborate around any changes. We encourage both parties to be reasonable with each other and work together to come up with ways to best address the changes given this extraordinary situation.
  • If remote instruction ends earlier than planned for students in the original school calendar, we encourage the school district and local association to come to a mutual agreement as to what happens. If it is mutually agreed to convert any of the reduced instruction days into workshop days, such days should be collaboratively planned with teachers to be meaningful and address needs for closing out this school year and/or preparing for the start of the next school year. It may also be the case that days otherwise normally worked are mutually agreed to be waived given the circumstances.
    • In all instances, the DOE’s Priority Notice “Unified Guidance Regarding Executive Orders and School Personnel: All School Services and Employees are Essential” should continue to be followed, including “…physical presence in schools should be restricted to a bare minimum in order to provide essential functions – such as providing educational and nutritional services to students, payroll, certain cleaning and maintenance staff, certain administrative assistant staff where communications cannot occur remotely, IT staff to support remote learning functions, transportation staff – and only as long as social distancing and other CDC recommendations (including hand washing protocols) are being implemented…”
  • Support staff who usually only work on student days, are held harmless and paid for the days they would have otherwise worked should the school year not have been impacted by any changes due to COVID-19. (See Governor’s Executive Order) Any non-student focused work that might be determined should be meaningful and address immediate needs for closing out the school year and/or preparing for the start of the next school year.
    • In all instances, the DOE’s Priority Notice “Unified Guidance Regarding Executive Orders and School Personnel: All School Services and Employees are Essential” should continue to be followed, including “…physical presence in schools should be restricted to a bare minimum in order to provide essential functions – such as providing educational and nutritional services to students, payroll, certain cleaning and maintenance staff, certain administrative assistant staff where communications cannot occur remotely, IT staff to support remote learning functions, transportation staff – and only as long as social distancing and other CDC recommendations (including hand washing protocols) are being implemented…”
  • Retiring educators should be held harmless for any workshop days moved from this year to the next. Steps should be taken to make sure future MainePERS benefits are not negatively impacted by ensuring that pay is not shifted from this school year to the next school year.
  • The school district and local association should come to an agreement that addresses any changes to the beginning of the new school year that would impact new educators hired over the summer, such as additional workshop days added to the start of the next school year.
  • Any agreements should not establish any precedent given the extraordinary circumstances due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • In the interest of transparency and clarity, we strongly recommend that the parties document any agreement by taking notes that include the date of the conversation/meeting, who participated in the conversation/meeting, what was discussed and what was agreed to. The notes should be shared with the parties so as to confirm mutual understanding and to address any misunderstandings, if they exist, as quickly as possible.

C. Legislative Update:

N/A

D. Policy Update:

I have begun the work of looking at the next update of school policies slated for next year. (Currently on hold) We will continue to keep our eyes out for any new educational policy recommendations from the state.


III. Budget and Finance:

A. State Level:

No Change.

B. Finance Local:

Mr. Tracy issued the letter out to towns and communities. The letter indicated the conditions of the proposed FY 21 RSU #74 school district budget. The process will resume at the community/municipality level as soon as we can conduct business as usual, and gather in groups to conduct business.


IV. Operations:

A. Facilities Department and Transportation:

A HUGE thank you to Ms. Agren (Tammy Connor, and Grace Cram) for continuing to oversee the execution, creating and delivery of school meals to families in RSU #74.


Also a huge thank you to Ms. Agren and her team, and various Educational Technicians and Staff for delivering the educational packets weekly.


V. Principal’s Reports: (GSS, Solon, CSS and CHS)


VI. Academics and Instruction:


Hiring a Building Principal:

Mr. Tracy is taking applications for the CCS building principal position.


School Calendar(s):

One of the agenda items for the board to consider is moving the current unused Teacher Professional Development days from this school year to August to allow staff planning time for the adjustments that need to be made to the curriculum, instruction and teaching standards for next year as a result COVID -19. Additionally, the local SCTC region is proposing moving out the start of next year’s calendar by 1 week (September 1st), to allow for this work to occur. The net result would be a “one week” move forward of the whole school calendar for next year ending June 10.


Year End Celebrations / Summer Programming:

We are having to “change course or direction” with regard to many things locally, across the state and frankly across the USA. -We are working diligently to draft ideas for “Plan B and Plan C” for things such as graduation and 8th grade promotion and other important celebrations. Unfortunately, I do not have guidelines or recommendations from the state yet as to the timing, size of gatherings or conditions for such year-end and summer activities. As soon as I have this we will provide immediate information. At this time, the HS is reaching out to seniors and families regarding graduation, etc.


Distance Learning Plan:


We are continuing with our distance learning plan as we have discussed. School meals, weekly contact, and educational packets and online learning is still being provided. -See Mr. Tracy’s recent “Mr. Tracy Minute” for details.


After School Nutrition Opt Out - New Law:


According to LD 577, a new law requiring school districts to provide after school feeding programs, or formally opt out. RSU #74 is proud to offer many free food opportunities such as multiple breakfasts and lunches currently. But, because we do not have a regular ongoing after school program in any of our schools we are recommending the formal “opt out” option by the board, this year. We can revisit this in the fall.