September 10, 2021
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As I visited the buildings over the last week, it was wonderful to see the smiling eyes and feel the excitement from our students who haven’t been all together in a year and a half! At the School Committee meeting this week, our principals provided a first-week return update and reported the enthusiasm throughout their schools--from both their students and teachers--was palpable.
I am very impressed by the sheer volume of work completed by our custodial and maintenance staff, food services and transportation staff, front office assistants and support staff, teachers, educational technicians, and administrators to provide the best possible return for our students. We recognize there are still some logistical challenges--especially transportation--that we need to alter and improve. As we work to improve, I thank you for your patience and understanding and applaud our staff for their continued professionalism, care, flexibility, creativity, and positive attitude as we address each situation.
As we head into this school year, surrounding districts have already had to deal with multiple positive cases and close contact quarantines. Although the positive cases and close contacts within our district have been minimal, we know we are not immune.
Reduced Impact: I’d like to thank parents for their diligence in keeping their child(ren) home when exhibiting any symptoms (linked here) as that undoubtedly limited close contacts and the impact on families to navigate a quarantine situation.
Pooled Testing: I encourage parents to utilize the prevention measures we have available and consent to have their child(ren) participate in pooled testing. Individuals who participate in pooled testing are exempt from quarantine in the classroom, bus, sports, or other school-related activities should they be identified as a close contact (see sign-up information below). Once consents are received, specific pools will be established by our nursing staff based on numbers per classroom/advisory and Pooled Testing will begin on October 4th.
COVID Vaccine Clinic: We have added an additional community-wide COVID Vaccine Clinic on Tuesday, September 21st from 3-6 PM at Biddeford High School’s Tiger Gym for those interested in getting vaccinated (sign-up details below).
Remote Learning: Principals are working directly with their teachers and Curriculum Director/Assistant Superintendent to develop a Plan B of remote learning if/when students are required to quarantine or if an outbreak occurs. Teachers will reach out should this occur utilizing the technology platforms in place (Seesaw/Google Classroom), and the district is developing a plan for devices to be sent home regularly for unforeseen emergencies. In addition, we will ensure there is access to free breakfast and lunch during a remote situation. At this time, the option of full remote learning is not available to our students.
In more exciting news, the Biddeford School Committee, which oversees the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology (COT), voted unanimously to move forward with establishing a Culinary Arts and Hospitality Program. Director Paulette Bonneau noted a proposed plan would need to be submitted to the State by October 1st in order to implement a program by September 2022 (with the ability to delay commencement up to two years, if needed). Although there has been some speculation of utilizing the previous Smitty’s space, we continue to have conversations with the developer and no final decisions have been made at this time. We will keep you informed of the progress of the expanded programming at COT.
I encourage families to review the additional information and complete consent and sign-up links as noted below. If you have any questions, please seek out our official communications avenues or ask for clarification. We are all looking forward to a safe and healthy school year ahead.
Superintendent of Schools
POOLED TESTING: CONSENT REQUIRED TO START ON OCTOBER 4TH
In an effort to help our school community better understand the benefits and process around pooled testing, our district nurses have put together Nursing News (linked here) which includes all the relevant information to make an informed decision. Individuals who participate in pooled testing are exempt from quarantine in the classroom, bus, sports, or other school-related activities should they be identified as a close contact.
Consents are required to be enrolled in pooled testing (One Form Per Child). Once consents are received, specific pools will be established by our nursing staff based on numbers per classroom/advisory and Pooled Testing will begin on October 4th.
*Staff should utilize a different link (see school email)*
Enter the Access Code specific to your child’s School:
Biddeford High School, COT, APC & Central Office: B8VTHG
Biddeford Middle School: QFR9CW
Biddeford Intermediate School & Transportation: 5U5KDT
Biddeford Primary School & SMAC: ANE1H2
John F. Kennedy School: 5B36J6
Dayton Consolidated School: ZAAG5M
Finally, enter your child’s information, and you’re done!
Parents may also contact the school directly if they require a printed form to be sent home.
COMMUNITY COVID VACCINE CLINIC: 9/21/21
Biddeford School Department is pleased to host another COVID vaccine clinic through a partnership with York County Emergency Management Agency. The clinic will be held on Tuesday, September 21st from 3:00-6:00 PM and open to the community (anyone over the age of 12) at Biddeford High School’s Tiger Gym. All three vaccines will be available: J&J (one-shot only), Pfizer or Moderna (1st Shot; 2nd shot will need to be scheduled at a different location).
HOW TO SIGN-UP:
CLICK HERE before September 19th
Select ONE TIMESLOT PER PERSON
Complete minimal demographic information (name, phone, address, date of birth)
Select PREFERRED VACCINE
Children ages 12-17 are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
Anyone over the age of 18 may choose J&J, Pfizer, or Moderna.
Anyone who opts for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines will be responsible for scheduling for their 2nd shot at a different location (an instruction sheet will be provided).
Booster shots are not available at this time.
The Consent Form (LINKED HERE) will be completed upon arrival or you may opt to print and bring the completed form with you. Parents/Guardians must accompany their child or ensure their child has a completed consent form upon arrival.
The COVID-19 vaccine is provided at no cost. If you have questions specific to the COVID vaccine, please follow-up directly with your physician or if you have questions specific to this clinic, please email email@example.com.
Thank you for doing your part to bring an end to this pandemic.
THIS FORM = $2.6 MILLION IN SCHOOL FUNDING
We are thrilled that all youth now have access to free breakfast and lunch (menus linked here). On the other hand, we are extremely concerned about the impact on school funding--$2.6 MILLION in Biddeford and Dayton combined last year--that is directly linked to the Meal Benefit Application.
We are asking ALL families to please complete the Meal Benefit Application, regardless of eligibility, as the data provided is used to determine our school funding, including Title 1 funds for special education programs; before/after and summer school programs; discounts on laptop insurance and internet; and teacher's student loan forgiveness. See Maine DOE’s brochure for more information.
All those who complete the form will be automatically entered to win one of five $100 Hannaford gift cards and those who meet certain eligibility requirements will receive additional Pandemic EBT benefits (if completed by August 31).