July 24, 2020 – Opening School

July 24, 2020

TO:  Calais School Department Faculty, Staff, Students, Parents, and Community

FR:  Ron Jenkins, Superintendent

While I wish that I could give you a clear and definitive report on our return to school in the fall, however, at this time it is proving difficult.  We have had a team of Administrators, School Nurses, Faculty Members, Custodial Staff, and School Committee Members working on a draft plan for returning to school in the fall since early in July.  As you might expect, many different scenarios have been discussed.  The process is complicated by often changing data from CDC and the State to lead the decision.  We hope to complete the draft plan early in August and present it to the School Committee for approval and adoption.

What I can tell you of our progress follows:

  • We expect to open school for students early in September
  • The opening plan will offer in classroom instruction but may need to provide some virtual instruction
  • The current CDC and Maine Department of Education framework for opening schools has two key requirements, both of which are difficult to accomplish
    • Masks must be worn by all staff and students (mask breaks must be provided)
    • Social distancing must be in place
  • We have discussed ways to accomplish the above two requirements and have requested permission to modify the mask requirement, but at this time have been given no alternative permissions.
  • The Committee is committed to opening school in the fall for all students, but believes that our first priority is the safety of our students.

We understand the uncertainty of this situation is very difficult for families and we appreciate your patience.

Picking Up Caps and Gowns for Graduation

Beginning on Monday, July 20, CHS 2020 graduates may pick up their caps and gowns for graduation.  Students may pick up their own cap and gown Monday through Friday from 9am to 1pm. It is the responsibility of the student to take care of their cap, gown, and tassels. There is not enough time to reorder any misplaced pieces at the time of graduation, and we do not order extras due to the individual fits for caps and gowns.

If you plan on decorating your cap, the following historic practices will remain in place:

  1. Anyone who wishes to decorate their cap, must submit a drawing or picture of the design.
  2. Designs must be in good taste.
  3. The design submitted and approved is the only design that may be on the cap.
  4. Any cap with a design that was NOT pre-approved will not be allowed to be worn.
  5. Caps will be checked on the day of graduation.
  6. Graduates can provide a hard copy of the design or email directly to Mrs. Spearin at mspearin@calaisschools.org

Parents/Guardians and students will be receiving a mailing soon containing instructions and parking passes for the graduation ceremony.

Stay Safe,

Mary Ann Spearin

Reopening Surveys for Families and Staff

The Calais School Department has established a committee whose main objective is to create a safe and thorough Reopening Plan for our students and staff in the Fall of 2020. In order to do this work, the committee is seeking feedback from families and staff members. Please note there are two different surveys for the Calais Elementary School and Calais Middle/High School/Calais Alternative School. Both surveys are very similar, but we would like to keep the data separate in case the individual schools require slightly different plans. Please be sure to complete the appropriate survey for your student(s).

Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete the survey.

Calais Elementary School Survey



Calais Middle/High School AND Calais Alternative School Survey



Calais Staff Survey



Stay Safe,

Mary Anne Spearin

Principal, CMHS