In-Person Instruction FAQ and Survey

March 20, 2021 

Dear Staff, Students, and Parents,

Happy first day of spring.

I want to thank the nearly 900+ families for responding to the survey I sent out just yesterday.  We need this information to successfully accomplish the task of expanding in-person learning for students in grades K-12 to four days each week starting April 26, 2021. The survey can be accessed here: 

 BSD End of Year Programming Survey 

I have heard from numerous families asking questions ranging from whether the school day's length will be shortened to will there be transportation available? In an effort to address these and other anticipated questions,  I'm sharing a brief FAQ.  Please note that the decision to implement a four-day in-person schedule is a recent one that requires many changes in how the district operates.  As a result, we do not have all the answers yet.  

BSD FAQ 03/20/2021

What is the anticipated implementation date?  Monday, April 26.

What will Wednesdays look like? Wednesday will be an asynchronous day for all students.

Will the District continue to offer a distance learning option? Yes, the district will continue to offer a 100% distance learning option.
  
Why is PreK not included in the four days/week programming? PreK needs to adhere to Chapter 124, which requires a higher student-to-staff ratio than other grade levels. In order to comply with state regulations given our current staff and student numbers, part-time programming will remain in place for the duration of the year. 

Will parents be allowed to send their child to school only 2 days per week?  Unfortunately, no.  This change will result in changes in the instructional scope and sequence.  Students will need to enroll in the full in-person instruction option or the 100% distance learning option.

Will students be able to switch from the in-person option to the distance option?  Yes, students may choose the in-person option and then change their mind and enroll in the distance option.  However, because of planning requirements regarding social distancing, students who choose the distance option may not change their mind and enroll in the in-person option.

Will there be co-horting of students? This is not yet known.  Since all in-person students will attend on the same days, there will not be the same Cohort A or Cohort B groups that we’ve used this year.  However, there may be opportunities to cohort within a school.  We will provide more information on this as it becomes available.

Will the length of the school day at BHS be shortened?  This is not yet known.  The number of students returning to in-person learning will likely affect this decision.  We will provide more information on this as it becomes available.

Will there be tiered levels of pick-up and drop-off times for student transportation? This is not yet known.  Our preference is not to have tiered bus runs.  However, CDC social distancing requirements limit the capacity of our buses, and it may be necessary to make multiple runs in order to get all students to school.  Once we have the survey information on how many students require bus transportation, we will begin to rebuild bus routes. 

Will you continue to deep clean the buildings? Yes. Our facilities department will continue to clean our facilities at the recommended levels. With increased students and staff in the buildings, we will increase our cleaning during the evenings as well as on Wednesdays. 

Is there potential for disruption in teaching assignments at the elementary and junior high levels?  Yes, there is potential for students to be moved due to class-sizes, changing teacher availability, and distancing restrictions. 

Have BSD staff been offered vaccinations? We have collaborated with Mid Coast Hospital and were provided specific time-slots to staff. Now that all school/educational personnel are eligible for the vaccine, we have encouraged our staff to access it at any location that is feasible. If staff are only able to receive the vaccine during the day, we will cover classrooms, duties, etc., trying to ensure we can support anyone who wants a vaccine to receive one. 

Will the school district continue to include the school physician in planning decisions? Yes, we will continue to collaborate with Dr. Goodwin and BSD nurses to ensure we have a clear understanding of the revised US CDC guidance and effective health and safety practices. We will also continue to meet with our health-care providers throughout this process to ensure we are implementing Brunswick School Departments Strategic Action for a Flexible Education and Return (SAFER) plan.

What is the projected last student day for this year? Thursday, June 17.

As more decisions are made, we will make them available.

Your patience will be greatly appreciated while we work to implement this latest iteration of in-person instruction.

Sincerely,
Phillip J. Potenziano, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools