As we continue to navigate the ongoing and ever-changing COVID-19 situation, there is one question on the mind of parents and educators everywhere: What will school look like in the fall?
In RSU 18, that is the central focus of many meetings and conversations. In an effort to keep all stakeholders involved, Superintendent Gartley has been reaching out in many ways. In the middle of June, Mr. Gartley sent a survey to all district parents requesting feedback on school reopening. During the month of July, he set up several meetings to listen to parents’ questions and concerns. Staff were also sent a copy of this survey and have weighed in with opinions.
There has been a clear message to open our schools. Doing this in a way that gets our students and staff back in our buildings in a safe manner is the key, as is the need for flexibility for families who are not yet comfortable being back in school. The feedback has been tremendously helpful as we move forward in developing this framework. It is no small task.
The district has also formed an RSU 18 school reopening committee, made up of a mix of staff members and board members, to brainstorm ideas and provide feedback on a variety of questions surrounding the reopening process. In addition, the Kennebec Valley Superintendents are meeting regularly to discuss ideas and keeping lines of communication open with the Maine Department of Education (DOE).
The Maine DOE has announced that it will provide further reopening guidelines to schools in early August. The goal in RSU 18 is to have a draft plan ready by the end of July. This way, when the DOE releases its update, we will be able to finalize plans quickly. We will make sure the plan gets out to everyone as soon as possible.
The health, safety, and well-being of all of our students and staff continue to be the central focus of this district in our efforts to develop our reopening plan. Thank you for working with us during this challenge. #WeAreRSU18