The Yarmouth School Department is planning for the reopening of schools in the fall of 2020. As part of our planning, we are hoping to provide you with a “Remote Option,” in which your child would attend school in a fully virtual setting through December 22. If this option is of interest to you, please read further. If you decide to enroll your child in the remote option, you must complete and submit the form which is linked toward the end of this letter by Friday, August 7.
For further explanation - while much is yet to be decided, we know that the MDOE, with input from the Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC), will be indicating if schools in our community should open under a Green, Yellow, or Red designation. Green would mean we can open our schools to students, so long as many safety precautions are in place. Yellow would mean we may open schools to less than our full capacity and provide some instruction remotely (the hybrid model), and Red would mean we should continue with remote learning, with no students in the buildings. Please take a few minutes to read more about our conceptual plans for each of these scenarios by reviewing this web article. Whether we are in the Green or Yellow setting, we will be employing strategies to promote good health of all occupants in our schools, including:
Face coverings worn by all students and staff (exceptions for specific health concerns)
Proper physical distancing (6’ distance preferred, 3’ acceptable when face coverings are worn)
Increased access and expectations for hand cleaning and sanitizing
Increased focus on education around touching one’s face and washing one’s hands
Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of facilities and buses
Increased ventilation through open windows and use of larger and exterior spaces
Improved air purifying through a newly installed ionization system
Limited visitors/volunteers in the schools – meetings to be held virtually
Students to remain in small (classroom-based) groups as much as possible each day
The Remote Option
One offering we hope to provide is an all-remote option for families who are not comfortable sending their children to school. In this option, students in Kindergarten through Grade 6 will be taught by a designated teacher, with some synchronous on-line classes and significant independent work with on-line support. Grades 7-8 students will have a designated on-line instructor and will involve some synchronous classroom work with HMS teachers and classmates who are in school, along with significant independent work. At the High School, fully remote learning will involve synchronous coursework with YHS teachers and classmates who are in school, along with significant independent work with on-line support from YSD employees.
In the fully-remote option, curriculum and experiences will likely be limited to core requirements such as Literacy and Mathematics at Rowe and Yarmouth Elementary, with some dedicated time for Science and Social Studies. World Language would be added at the Middle School and High School. It is not likely that we will be able to provide all elective courses or enrichment experiences in the remote setting.
Families selecting the remote option must commit to the program for the first four months of the academic year (September through late December). At this time, we hope to continue the remote option for the spring semester as well. Our intent is to provide an opportunity for families to select that option in December. Families who do not select the remote option for the fall may do so for the winter.
If you wish to enroll your child in the remote option, please complete the form linked here and submit it by Friday, August 7 so we may determine if this will be a viable option for the fall. If you do not submit this form, your child will be enrolled in the classroom-based instructional setting at the level advised by the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) in August.
Thank you for assisting us as we refine our plans for reopening Yarmouth Schools. Your input is valuable as we strive to meet our students’ needs in the safest and most comprehensive manner possible. I will continue to keep you apprised of our plans as the summer progresses. The next public discussion on this matter will take place on Thursday, July 30 at 7:00 p.m. at the regular meeting of the Yarmouth School Committee. This will be a virtual meeting, which you may attend via Zoom at the following link:
https://maine.zoom.us/j/91545293759?pwd=WmNJTU9WYVVHTzQ0cFgxV3I1dXdmZz09. You may also attend via telephone: (312) 626 6799 or (646) 876 9923 or (301) 715 8592 (Meeting ID: 915 4529 3759; Password: 016176).