FARMINGTON— The Regional School Unit 9 board of directors met Tuesday, Sept. 8, for an hour-long training on parliamentary procedures hosted by The Maine School Management Association (MSMA), and to receive first day of school reports.

“In a meeting earlier this evening with other administrators, I think that I can speak for all of the elementary school principals in saying that it actually went really well,” Mallett Elementary School Principal Tracy Williams said. “Our kids came to school with masks on, they were happy, there was a lot of laughter seeing their friends, teachers were positive and upbeat. We did all of the things that we usually do everyday except with a lot of cleansing and wearing masks and keeping distances apart.”

Williams added that students are still adjusting as they often forget social distancing when interacting with their friends.

Mt. Blue High School Principal Monique Poulin reported a successful first day of school with everyone following the district’s and the state’s Center for Disease Control guidelines.

“I just think all of the work that everyone put into making it a safe environment for our students and staff just made a huge difference,” Poulin said.

Mount Blue Middle School Principal James Black echoed the reports by Poulin and Williams and anticipated that the few issues posed by remote learning should be resolved by the end of the week.

“Things ran relatively well, we didn’t know what to expect, but kids came. They did what they needed to do,” Black said. “We still have a few kinks to work out, I think, with remote learning and stuff like that, but over the next few days we’re going to get that all taken care of.”

Director of Special Services John Jones who visited several RSU 9 schools on Tuesday said that he was very impressed to see all of the planning, work and effort put in by the staff come to fruition.

“I was able to visit a few schools, elementary schools as well as the high school, and was surprised by how quiet it was with fewer students but everybody was very diligently adhering to PPE and wearing masks,” Jones said. “And as much as I think you could say you’ve really nailed how to do instruction in a pandemic, which we’ve never done before, I think the collaborative effort, it really was done today.”

Superintendent Tina Meserve also provided a report on the district’s remote learners who currently comprise 21.5% of RSU 9 students. She informed the board that everyone who requested a hotspot last spring has received them and that they are working.

The district is still waiting for its delivery of iPads to distribute to elementary students, but Meserve assured that all students in the district who indicated they needed a device last spring have received one.

In Meserve’s report, she also informed the board that the district is still waiting for Maine’s Principal Association’s (MPA) plan for school sports since its initial plan did not comply with the state’s CDC guidelines.

“We are waiting again for the MPA. The work has been sent back to the MPA as the proposal they set forth did not meet guidelines. In the interim time, it is important to know that our fall athletes are continuing with what they call state level phase 4,” Meserve said. “That is where fall athletes will start working with their coaches, and they have some restrictions at this point, of course. It’s voluntary; it’s still considered a summer series until the department makes its decision about what our next steps are.”

In the meantime, student athletes are practicing social distancing, conducting self-screenings and using a limited amount of equipment, Meserve said.

In other business, the board approved the revised 2020-21 district calendar and elected Board Member Wayne Kinney as the Maine School Board Association (MSBA) delegate for the 2020 school year.

The board also held an executive session to discuss the labor contract for the teacher’s bargaining unit.

 

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