Dresden Elementary School will use a combination of in-person and online instruction when it reopens, pending approval from the RSU 2 Board of Directors.
Under the hybrid model, each student will belong to one of two “cohorts.” Each cohort will attend school in person two days per week, with one day of remote access to teachers and two days of independent distance learning, according to a July 31 letter from RSU 2 Assistant Superintendent Mary Paine to families.
The district has not yet set the weekly schedule. Either students in Cohort A will attend school in person Monday and Tuesday while students in Cohort B go Thursday and Friday, or Cohort A will attend Monday and Thursday while Cohort B attends Tuesday and Friday.
“We are still weighing the options for the weekly structure based on multiple factors, such as safety, meal service, transportation, neighboring district schedules and quality of learning,” Paine said in the letter.
“The hybrid model will ensure that we can implement the Six Requirements by having fewer students in our schools at one time and provide us with the time and space to figure out how to maximize our resources and capacity,” Paine wrote. “It will also allow us to provide students with a less stressful environment as they return to school after a prolonged period away and become accustomed to the safety and academic protocols.”
The Maine Department of Education and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention have categorized all 16 of Maine’s counties as “green,” meaning they are at low risk for COVID-19 transmission and can fully reopen schools. However, districts must follow six reopening guidelines, including at-home symptom screening, physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and washing hands.
A fully remote option will also be available for families who choose not to send their students to school in person.
Paine said in the letter that implementation of the hybrid model will be monitored constantly, with a full assessment at the end of the first quarter.
The district is considering a start date of Tuesday, Sept. 8. “At this time, we believe the extra time may be needed, once all staff are back at work, to prepare for a very different kind of return to school and to make sure that the delivery of remote instruction is high quality,” Paine said in the letter.
Breakfast and lunch will continue to be offered to all students enrolled in the district. Although free meals were provided during the emergency closure in the spring, the cost of meals during the school year will be based on eligibility for free and reduced-price meals. Families can apply for free or reduced-price meals at myschoolapps.com or by emailing Food Service Director Chrissy Michaud at email@example.com.