HSD Update 3.27.21 

Good afternoon, below are some updates regarding COVID, schedules, and more.  

HHS will remain in the current college-style hybrid with a Monday intervention day.  If your child needs additional academic support, please take advantage of Monday. HHS continues with its Special Services model and has also added an academic interventionist for student assistance.

UTC remains in its current hybrid with no schedule changes.  

HMS: Remains in a 4-day updated model.  HMS will be sharing a short parent survey later today to parent emails to gain feedback from our parent base. We will share these results. 

PADS: Remains in updated 3-day in-person model K-3 and 4-day grade 4 model.  PADS Continues with additional Title I and Special Services support time models. PADS will be sharing a short parent survey later today to parent emails to gain feedback from our parent base.  We will share these results.

We will share our survey results at the end of the week. 

Reopening Cmt:  Each school leadership team, parent advisory team and reopening cmt have met to review current models, discuss state/cdc changes, cases, transmission rates, guideline updates, and all things COVID.  

Maine has recently been considered a high transmission state and while state cases have declined over time some counties have returned to YELLOW on the state alert system and spikes exist.  Transmission rates for youth have been increasing as older populations have been declining (probably due to vaccinations).  Each school break has been followed by outbreak spikes and we anticipate this for April.  

We predict that over 90% of our staff have been vaccinated!  The CDC has decreased teacher distances from 6’ to 3’.  Transportation allows for some closer seating with windows open on busses. Quarantine rules have been upgraded to include seating charts that allow for lower amounts of students on the “Q”.

Hermon is inquiring about a student clinic hosted at HHS for those families who want to vaccinate 16+-year-olds. 

HSD is attending state seminars on voluntary batch testing as a means to identify any positive cases. We are hoping that such a program could lead to higher confidence in more students returning. This is similar to current processes used at state universities and for professional athletic teams.   Today the CDC changed mask requirements for outdoor gatherings for vaccinated people.

Each school is faced with unique challenges based on child development, spacing constraints, UTC and sending school schedules, and transportation. 

While our schedules continue to be less than anyone really wants in the long run, we remain committed to safety and have provided some consistency over the year, we are grateful that there has not been a loss of life due to COVID in our school community.

I encourage us to compare ourselves with ourselves and our unique challenges as we continue to progress the Hermon Way.   Our variables are not always the same as other communities.  

Some area schools have now pulled back their return plans based on cases and school break factors.  

Next Year: WE ARE COMMITTED TO 5 IN-PERSON DAYS NEXT YEAR ONE WAY OR ANOTHER!  That planning has begun at the school level and we will reach out for parental involvement through the Parent Advisory Teams. We are hopeful that restrictions will be lifted due to various interventions, vaccinations, and herd immunity.  Hermon will receive ARP funding dedicated to implementing a plan that brings students back full-time for 2021-22. 

Our plan will include social, academic, and mental health support for students.  

Lastly, I commend our community's patience and teamwork.  I recognize our dedicated staff who have adjusted several times this year, doubled cleaning efforts, managed cases, purposed themselves to student safety, supported each other, and delivered instruction.

Stay well,

Jim Chasse