From the Superintendent of Schools Office

August 31, 2021
From the Supt of Schools Office:
Due to serious concerns about the potential spread of the Covid virus and based on information from Calais Administration and Calais Recreation Department I am issuing the following announcement:
NEW CALAIS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PROTOCOL (effective immediately):
· Calais Elementary School will have a delayed opening until Tuesday, September 7, 2021
· Upon their return to classes Calais Elementary School students and all employees will wear masks in the building until we are able to begin pool testing. The expected date of pool testing is Monday, September 13th
NEW CALAIS MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL AND CALAIS ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL PROTOCOLS (effective immediately):
· Calais High/Middle School and Calais Alternative School will begin classes as previously scheduled tomorrow, Wednesday, September 1, 2021
· All students and employees will wear masks while inside the building until we are able to begin pool testing. The expected date of pool testing is Tuesday, September 14th

Calais School Department Pool Testing

Dear Calais School Department Families,
Calais Elementary School, Calais Middle/High School, and Calais Alternative School will be adding a new strategy to our COVID-19 prevention measures this year; voluntary “pooled testing”. Pooled testing means that students and staff in a classroom will have a COVID-19 test (PCR) once a week. Students participating in pooled testing will not need to be quarantined from school if they are considered close contacts of a positive case, as long as they do not have symptoms. Pooled testing is a voluntary program, and all testing is free. Parents must sign a consent form in order for their child to participate. We believe pooled testing will be an important part of keeping classrooms safe and will greatly reduce the amount of days any student will need to be out of school in quarantine.
HERE IS HOW POOLED TESTING WORKS
One day per week, each student who is enrolled in the program will do a self nasal swab in class (younger students may need help getting started and will be monitored). Each child will be given a swab, and they will put it just inside each nostril, and then all of the swabs for the class will be placed into one testing tube.
The tube will be sent to a lab. In about 48 hours, the nurse will see the results of the test. If the tube, or “pool”, is negative, nothing needs to be done. The class will continue to be tested on a regular weekly basis.
If a tube is positive, each person in that group must have another test. The nurse will do a rapid “BinaxNOW” test at school. Each student that has a negative test can return to class
Any student who is positive must stay in the isolation room and their parent/guardian will be notified. The parent must come to school to pick up their child. A student who is positive for COVID cannot stay in school and cannot ride the bus home. Please have a plan to pick up your child from school during school hours in the event your child becomes ill. Please be sure the school has your most up to date contact information.
Following our current CDC guidelines, anyone who is a close contact of a positive case and is NOT part of pooled testing, will need to be quarantined for 10 days. A COVID test is recommended 5-7 days from exposure.
Any student who is a close contact and IS participating in pooled testing, can continue to come to school as long as they do not have symptoms of COVID. Students who are part of pooled testing may continue to come to school because they are being tested weekly for COVID, however at this time may only participate in school based activities (not community based such as recreation programs).
IMPORTANT: Any student who has symptoms of COVID-regardless if they are a part of pooled testing or not- must stay home until symptoms have resolved and/or they have been cleared by their physician.
BinaxNOW Antigen Testing Information:
This year, CES has opted into a State of Maine program that will allow us to use Abbott BinaxNOW Ag(antigen) tests to test staff and students who develop symptoms of COVID-19 at school at no cost to families. This test provides results in 15 minutes. The BinaxNOW permission form will be valid for one year, stay in your child’s health file, and only be used if testing is needed (and for follow ups to a positive pool test if needed). School nurses will share your child’s results with you and your child’s primary care physician if needed. We will only use this test for students/staff who have signed consent on file and who develop some of the following signs and symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day:
Fever, cough, fatigue, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, diarrhea, muscle aches
In the event that BinaxNOW testing needs to take place at school due to symptoms:
Students will be supervised by a nurse with self-swab or the nurse will perform the swab as necessary. The school nurse will be in communication with the parent/guardian of anyone tested and results will be shared at that time. CDC guidance will be followed for a positive result.
Students who do not have completed forms on file cannot be tested at school, which may affect their ability to attend school and other school related activities.
Symptomatic students will be sent home and will still be required to meet return to school guidelines as appropriate.
Parents/guardians that opt out of school testing will need to arrange testing through their PCP or other testing site if directed to do so by the Maine CDC and return to school guidelines.
Consent forms will be sent home with back to school packets and we strongly encourage you to fill them out as soon as possible. Our goal is to start testing mid September. Please do not hesitate to contact the school for any questions or concerns.

Emergency Relief (ESSER) Grant

Calais School Department

ESSER 3

School Administrative Unit American Rescue Plan (ARP)

Elementary and Secondary School

Emergency Relief (ESSER) Grant

The Calais School Department has received the ESSER 3 ARP Grant Award of $1,971,324. This grant can be used to combat the learning gaps caused by Covid-19, air quality in school, Social Emotional Learning, sanitization of school, building improvement to help meet Covid-19 guidelines, and technology. The following are the projects that the Calais School Department will complete using these funds.

  • Summer Programming and Summer Learning Camps
  • High-quality tutoring during and after school
  • Credit Recovery
  • Class Size Reduction and Additional Staffing
  • Staff Professional Development in Research Based Interventions
  • Resources to decrease Reading and Math gaps
  • Sanitize schools and buses
  • Provide busing for summer programming
  • Social Emotional Counselor and Activities
  • Update Technology Infrastructure
  • High School Roof Picks
  • Add an Art Teacher
  • Air Ventilation
  • Add Classrooms onto the Elementary School building

Summer Letter from Mrs Spearin

Dear Calais Middle/High School students, parents, and guardians:

The Calais Middle/High School is pleased to welcome all of our students back to in person learning! Please refer to our 2021 Opening Plan found within this packet or on the Calais School Department website www.calaisschools.org. We are also pleased to announce the addition of new faculty and staff members, Cameron Gelder (ELA), Steven Gregory (Music Dept.), a high school science teacher, and 2 new mathematics teachers.

The CM/HS school daily class schedule has changed slightly this year. The middle and high school has reorganized the daily class schedule to include a flex period that will be used as a time for students to seek additional support in current classes, provide enrichment opportunities from teachers, as well as scheduled time for advisories that will cover social-emotional needs of our students, further support a positive school culture, and provide space for class meetings. Though each class will be shortened slightly to accommodate the flex period, we will continue with our alternating block schedule of Blue and White days.

With the addition of faculty members, the Calais Middle/High School has a few new offerings in our high school English Department. Please contact Mrs. Pike, our guidance counselor at spike@calaisschools.org, if you are interested in signing up for any of the following courses: Reading/Writing Workshop, Creative Writing, PoeMester (Edgar Allen Poe and related works), Public Speaking, Mythology, or Literary Performance.

The beginning of the school year is quickly approaching with Wednesday, September 1st being our first day for 7th and 8th Graders, Freshmen, and new students. All students will return on Thursday, September 2nd. The beginning of the year offers the opportunity for us to set new goals for ourselves, join new clubs or extracurricular activities, and continue to strive for excellence.

Our daily start time will begin with the first bell at 7:35am. Students arriving after the first bell will be considered tardy, so please be sure students arrive at class prior to the 7:35am bell. We recommend students are dropped off by 7:30 a.m. to allow time for students to go to lockers and arrive on time to class.

Just a quick reminder for students to turn off cell phones and electronic devices during the school day. Students can use their phones prior to the 7:30 a.m. bell, during their designated lunch period, and after the dismissal bell at 1:50 p.m.  Parents, who must be in contact with their students, should contact our front office at 454-2591, as students will not be able to check their phones until their scheduled lunch time or after school.

Calais Middle/High School has installed water bottle filling stations. It is recommended students have a reusable, closed water bottle for school. Please refrain from bringing outside drinks into the building during school hours.

Parents/Guardians are encouraged to complete the free/reduced lunch forms online for your convenience https://nlappscloud.com//District.aspx?sdid=1700&op=7f298cf57815df10ebb0db62450bc645, but a paper copy will be sent home with your student during the first day of school in case you prefer to complete a hard copy.  The Maine Department of Education does require parents/guardians in all schools complete the forms even if you do not believe your child(ren) will qualify for free/reduced lunch. The CM/HS and school department uses the data to apply for grants and/or additional funding, so it is important for all families to complete the lunch form. We appreciate your cooperation.

Once again, we are very much looking forward to seeing all of our students in September! If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us at 454-2591.

Sincerely,

Mary Anne Spearin

Principal CM/HS