Plan to Open School in the Fall

Message From

Ron Jenkins, Superintendent of Schools

Calais School Department

Plan to Open School in the Fall

While there still are a number of details to be worked out, the following is a list of those things that have been approved by the Calais School Committee:

  • The first student day will be Monday September 14th. We expect the school day to be the same as last year.
  • Teachers and staff will return as was originally planned. Training and workshops will be held to help facilitate a smooth start.
  • There will be two options for student’s receiving instruction
    • Students may receive regular instruction in the classroom on a modified schedule (Half of the students will attend on specified days to be determined in the very near future.)
    • Students may attend virtual classes (distance learning) via an internet connection provided by the school. There will be guidelines for accessing distance learning in order to receive credit.
  • We will follow Maine CDC Guidelines for reopening school
    • Social Distancing will be observed
    • Masks will be required of all students and staff. Breaks will be required and Calais School Department Administration will work with staff to determine conditions and lengths of time they must be worn.  We are working on an alternative to masks such as shields for students that have a medical reason why masks should not be worn.
  • There will be a plan for elementary students to receive additional help and supervision at an off school site on the days that they are not scheduled for teacher to student instruction. This service will be provided at no cost to parents.
  • The rules for riding our buses will be provided very soon.

I fully understand that what we will be doing is not ideal.  We hope to be back to a more normal situation, but exactly when that can happen remains elusive.  Our primary concern remains the safety of our students.  We will never know if what we are doing is more than is necessary, but I am sure that if we do too little it will become abundantly clear.  We thank you for trusting us with your most precious children and young adults.

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

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

Virtual Senior Scholarship Ceremony

On Friday, June 26 at 10am, CM/HS will be posting to our website ( a Virtual Senior Scholarship Ceremony. Shortly thereafter the video will be added to our Calais School Department Facebook page. This was not our preferred method for announcing such exciting news for our Seniors, but students and families need to begin planning their fall expenses for post-secondary aspirations.

Congratulations to all of the scholarship and award recipients, and congratulations to all of our graduating Seniors!

Stay Safe,

Mary Anne Spearin

Principal, CMHS