As you may know, the Commissioner of Education put out a communication on Tuesday night that was received by many to mean that schools were ‘closed’ for the remainder of the year. What it actually said was that she, with the support of the Governor, is recommending schools ‘begin to plan for remote learning for the rest of the year’. That planning is well underway in RSU 64. Our hope is that students and staff will be able to assemble again before the end of the year, however that may not be a reality. For now, we will continue to extend our remote learning plans for the foreseeable future, and we will make decisions about how to end the school year when we have more information and get closer to that time. Please keep in mind, another Executive Order by the Governor could change this.
The remote learning plans in place look different in each school, at each grade level, and in each content area. We know all students will move on to the next grade level and that all seniors in good standing will graduate. However, it is essential students stay engaged in the learning opportunities we are providing. Continuing with learning structures at home is essential to students at this time and will make the transition back to school that much smoother when it does happen. We have agreed administratively that no grades will be given for student work PreK-Grade 8. However, students still need to provide their teachers with evidence of their learning. This will also be very helpful to the transition back to school. We have asked all teachers to begin to closely examine the essential learning all students need to have and to be ready to compact the curriculum when we are able to be back together. High school teachers have been working this week to identify the essential learning their students will need in order to earn their credits. More information will come out about this next week. Assessment of this learning may happen by the end of the year, but will also extend over the summer and into the fall for some students. This is critical given the inequity of access students have to teachers, technology, etc. and the incredible stressors families are under. We expect to provide as much flexibility as we possibly can in this area.
April Vacation will remain as such; April 18-26. This is consistent among districts in our region. Teachers will not be expected to be engaging with students during this week and students are not expected to be engaging either. It is very important that students re-engage on April 27, after the April Vacation week ends. We also now know, we will be able to provide meals, as we have been, during April Vacation.
On behalf of staff, administrators, and the Board of Directors, I want to thank students and families for their patience and support. This is still a very fluid situation and decisions continue to be made based on the best information we have at any given time. We will continue to do as much as we can, for as many as we can, with the resources we have.
We will get through this together.