RSU 71 Coronavirus Preparation and Info
Ongoing: Starting March 23,  RSU #71 will begin delivering go-bag meals via school buses on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, delivering 2 day's worth each day. The delivery service is for families who don't have transportation to our feeding sites. Bus drivers and school administrators will be working together to get make the drop-offs, while strictly observing social-distancing protocols. We will continue to be open for curbside pick up of go-bag meals at Ames Elementary, East Belfast Elementary and Captain Albert Stevens from 8:00 am - 12 noon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Click here to view the routes and approximate delivery times.
April 1, 2020

March 31, 2020
Today, Governor Mills sent out a mandate that requires that Maine people to remain at home unless they have to leave for an essential job or an essential activity.


School districts were asked to create remote learning plans in response to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 crisis. Here is a link to a Maine Department of Education notice on this topic.


March 29, 2020
For those who need help, these are 3 places to reach out to:
  • Call 211 for help with basic needs, food, shelter, etc
  • If you’ve lost your job: Apply for unemployment through Maine Dept of Labor. Even if you’re unsure if you qualify, we’re telling people to apply anyway and DOL will make the determination. Unemployment Claims 1-800-593-7660 / TTY: Maine relay 711
  • MyMaineConnection: One-stop shop to apply for SNAP, MaineCare and other benefits. Those without internet access are encouraged to call: 1-855-797-4357
If you need help with "My Maine Connection," the Maine Equal Justice Partners is a great resource. They can talk you through the process. 

If you are having trouble getting assistance like SNAP, MaineCare, TANF, or General Assistance, but you think that you should qualify, please call Maine Equal Justice at 626-7058, ext 205”

March 27, 2020
On March 18, 2020, Governor Mills signed into law, “An Act to Implement Provisions Necessary to the Health, Welfare and Safety of the Citizens of Maine in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” (L.D. 2167; Public Law Chapter 617).  The law allows public entities, including school boards, to conduct meetings using video, telephone, electronic or other similar means that permit remote participation by members of the body as well as the public.  

In response, RSU #71 is temporarily adopting the guidelines as outlined in this document when running Board of Director Meetings.


March 27, 2020
For those who want to help, the Governor’s new Maine Helps website offer a number of ways. It also has some info on where to go to get help.
 
For those who need help, the 3 things we’re telling people:
-Call 211 for help with basic needs, food, shelter, etc
-If you’ve lost your jobApply for unemployment through Maine Dept of Labor. Even if you’re unsure if you qualify, we’re telling people to apply anyway and DOL will make the determination. Unemployment Claims
1-800-593-7660 / TTY: Maine relay 711
-MyMaineConnection: One-stop shop to apply for SNAP, MaineCare and other benefits. Those without internet access are encouraged to call: 1-855-797-4357
 
If someone needs help with My Maine Connection, Maine Equal Justice Partners is a great resource. They can talk people through the process. They have a great COVID-19 resource page, too.
“If you are having trouble getting assistance like SNAP, MaineCare, TANF, or General Assistance, but you think that you should qualify, please call Maine Equal Justice at 626-7058, ext 205”
March 26, 2020
Here is a Public Service Awareness video concerning social distancing and two PSA videos made by Gorham High School students:


March 24, 2020
Click here to view a message from Michele Philbrick, RSU #71 Director of Special Services, concerning Special Services during the COVID-19 District Closure.

March 21, 2020
See above for current information on RSU #71's food service efforts.

March 19, 2020
Click here to read an information letter for 3-19-2020 about RSU #71 schools from Superintendent McLean concerning our response to the Coronoavirus emergency. 

Press Release  - for immediate release: Internet Access Assistance for families with students at home              
During the COVID-19 crisis period, the LTC Family of Companies (Lincolnville Telephone, Tidewater Telecom and LCI Fiber Optic Network) will provide the Internet services below for customers and residents with students at home (K-12 and college) who live in the Tidewater Telecom and Lincolnville Telephone areas, as well as our current LCI Fiber Optic broadband customers.     

For current customers and residents in Tidewater Telecom and Lincolnville Telephone areas, who have students at home:  For current DSL customers we will increase their Internet access speeds to the highest level possible (up to 10 Mbps download)  for 2 months, at no additional cost.
For current customers who have telephone only, we will provide DSL Internet access up to 10 Mbps download for 2 months free.

For other residents in Tidewater and Lincolnville Telephone Company areas who do not have our phone connection, we will provide the phone line and DSL Internet access up to 10 Mbps download for 2 months free.
 
For LCI Fiber Optic Network customers with students at home: For current customers who have our O.P.E.N.™ Fiber Optic broadband, we will upgrade their service to a minimum of 50 Mbps download for 2 months, at no additional cost.

Call (207) 563-9911 or email billing@tidewater.net  (M-F 8:00AM – 4:00PM)  to contact a Customer Services Rep, regarding this limited-time special offer.

NOTE:   At this time, to protect our staff, new installation work will be restricted to the outside of the home only.  Customers will then receive instructions by phone for the next steps to complete internet access inside the home.  New Installations may be limited by availability of network resources.  

Alan Hinsey, Dir. of Marketing, Sales & Communications, (207) 380-6162 --- alanh@lcifiber.net
www.LCIFiber.net

March 17, 2020

Click here to read an updated information letter about RSU #71 schools from Superintendent McLean concerning our response to the Coronoavirus emergency. 

Parents:
Our goals is to make sure that all K-12 students have access to food during the days and weeks to come.  

This week bag breakfast and lunch meals can be picked up Monday - Friday between  8:00 - 12:00 at the following sites; Ames, CASS and East Belfast.

Beginning next Monday, March 23rd - April 17 (not April vacation week), bag meals will be available at the sites listed above for pick up only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  If you are able, you may also pick up bagged meals for your neighbors.

The district will also drop off breakfast and lunch bagged meals at your home for those who are unable to get to any of the above listed sites...BUT we need to know who you are.  

Meal drop offs will occur on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You will receive meals for 2 days on Mondays and Wednesdays and 3 meals on Fridays.  

Please contact your child's principal - no later than Wednesday, March 18th at 5:00PM if you would like bagged meals delivered to your home.  There must be someone waiting outside for the bus to accept the meals.  A schedule will be created based on responses and available to you by the end of this week.

A letter from the High School Guidance Counselors at RSU #71:

March 17, 2020

Dear Students and Families: 

Greetings from the School Counseling Office. We hope that you are all safe and settled in at home and taking care of one another. This is indeed a strange and unprecedented time. Please pay attention to the school website http://bahs.rsu71.org/  and emails coming from your teachers and others.  

Please reach out to us if needed during the shutdown.  We will be available through “virtual office” hours from 8-2 pm through email and Zoom, an online platform for facetime if desired.  We are learning how to use Zoom, so be patient with us at first.  You can download Zoom to your laptop.  We hope to continue to schedule some junior interviews with those who have yet to complete them and use Zoom as a way to “carry on.” We will check email several times a day and will be available to answer questions, continue with business, offer support and connection to resources for staff, students, and parents.  

Student Expectations: 
Academics:  Most classes will be delivered to you electronically, so please check your sources regularly:  Google Classroom, email, etc.  Hard copies of assignments will be available for pick up this Wednesday.  Please make sure you stay current with your classes, as we are now doing online school.  If you are taking coursework outside of BAHS (WCTC, UMaine Hutchinson Center, Adult Ed, etc.), it is your responsibility to remain in contact with those providers.  Quarter 3 has been extended until April 27.  

Course sign ups for next year:  Please reach out to your counselor if you have questions about class choice for next year.  We are available to answer your questions via email.   We encourage you to sign up for classes online using Infinite Campus.  Steps: Login, click more on the left hand side of the page.  Next click Course Registration 20-21 Belfast Area HS.  Add course, type course number from course registration sheet, click + and finally click request.  

Collegeboard:  Right now we have not heard from Collegeboard or the DOE in regards to SAT testing, the MEA Science exam, or AP testing.  We assume that the school day SAT on 4/14 or the MEA science test will not happen, but nothing official has been decided.  

Junior Interviews:  Once we all get through this first week of transition, we can schedule adapted online Junior Interviews using the Zoom platform through emails and scheduled times. Contact your school counselor through email to schedule a junior interview through Zoom if you would like.  We are trying to serve you as best as we can.  

In closing, we wish you all the best as you settle into a “new routine” at home, and we ask that you take care of your families.  We miss seeing you all daily since you are part of our lives as well.  We will be available via email and will check it regularly.  Please stay home as much as possible and socially isolate.  If we all can do this, we have a good chance of not having this crisis get much worse.  We are sorry that you may be feeling isolated from friends, but know that everyone is adjusting to this new normal, and that it is not forever, but for a relatively short time in your life.  Create routines for at home and get outdoors when you can to walk, get exercise, and enjoy nature.  This will help you be calm, positive, and healthy.  We care about you all and look forward to when we can return to routine one day.  

Sincerely,

Tonya D. Ballard                                  James S. Davis
tballard@rsu71.org                              jdavis@rsu71.org


March 16, 2020

For Immediate Release

March 16, 2020

From: Patricia Estabrook

Founding co-Director, The Game Loft

78A Main Street

Belfast, ME 04915

207-322-3229 (cell phone)

No child should go hungry during the Covid-19 epidemic or at any other time. That is why the Game Loft is providing free grab-and-go lunches to any child from noon to 2 PM beginning on Tuesday, March 17.  Lunches will include a sandwich and fruit and vegetables. The Game Loft will be closed from March 16 through March 29 for regular programming but will serve free lunches to all children who come to the 78A Main Street, Belfast location. Children do not need to be Game Loft members to receive this service. 

The Game Loft has served youth in the community for the past 22 years. It provides Positive Youth Development services through non-electronic games, mentoring, and community involvement. The Game Loft is a registered soup kitchen and provides meals for any youth in the community at no cost 50 weeks per year. For more information about the Game Loft and its programs please go to the website at: www.thegameloft.org

At this time the Game Loft cannot accept community donations of food but financial contributions can be made through the website or by sending a check to The Game Loft, 78A Main Street, Belfast, ME 04915. Please put on the memo line: Feed the hungry. 

--
Allison Harrell
Communications Coordinator
The Game Loft


From RSU #71 School Counselors: (Click here for an updated list in PDFD Format)


During this time of uncertainty and prolonged school closure, RSU 71 School Counselors are working diligently to make sure students and their families are informed of all the resources available within our communities.  Below is a list of resources and aid available for needs ranging from food pantries, energy assistance, and mental health hotlines.


Food Pantries:

GREATER BELFAST MINISTERIUM
23 Mill Lane
207-218-1213
2nd/4th Friday 9-11:30 AM
Serving: Belfast, Searsmont, Morrill, Searsport, Swanville
NO GREATER LOVE FOOD PANTRY
3 Brierly Road
207-299-2093
Sun 1-2 PM
Serving: Belfast, Searsport, Searsmont, Swanville, Waldo County
 LITTLE RIVER CHURCH FOOD PANTRY
259 Northport Avenue
207-338-1006
3rd Thursday 6-7:30 PM
Serving: Belfast, Searsport, Northport, Belmont, Waldo County
 NORTHPORT FOOD PANTRY    489 Atlantic Hwy
781-801-0331
3rd Wednesday 8-11 AM
Serving: Belfast, Northport, Waldo County
JACKSON FOOD PANTRY
260 Village Road
207-722-3205
Tuesday 10-11 AM
Serving: Jackson, Brooks, Monroe, Knox, Swanville
 PALERMO FOOD PANTRY
22 Veterans Way
207-993-2225
Tuesday 11-12 PM
Serving: Palermo, Somerville, Weeksmills, Liberty
 LIBERTY AREA FOOD PANTRY
100 Main Street
207-589-4671
3rd Saturday 9-11 AM
Serving: Liberty, Montville, Palermo, Searsmont, Freedom
 CROSS ROADS FOOD PANTRY
1106 Augusta Road
207-342-4044
2nd Saturday 8-10 AM Every Wednesday 5-6 PM Serving: Morrill, Belmont, Searsmont, Belfast, Swanville


Please note that some food pantries/food banks are only operating by appointment.  Please use our resources and call ahead to assure availability.  



WALDO COMMUITY ACTION PARTNERS

Assistance with transportation, energy/fuel, 

emergency loans, housing, etc.

207-338-6809

https://waldocap/?page_id=73

MAINE CRISES HOTLINE

1-888-1112

If you are concerned about yourself or 

someone else, the crises line will connect

you with a crises worker for support.


NEW HOPE FOR WOMEN

Support for anyone experiencing struggles

due to domestic violence

207-594-2128/207-338-6569

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LINE



1-800-273-TALK (8255)


SEQUEL CARE OF MAINE

Mental Health Support and Counseling

207-338-8960


SWEETSER MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Mental Health Support and Counseling

1-800-434-3000

NORTHERN LIGHT MENTAL HEALTH CARE

Case Management Services

207-356-8152




Online Informational Resources on COVID-19:

(https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Talking-With-Children-Tips-for-Caregivers-Parents-and-Teachers-During-Infectious-Disease-Outbreaks/PEP20-01-006)


https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crises/health-crises-resources/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-(coroanvirus)-a-parent-resource


https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Coping-with-Stress-During-Infectious-Disease-Outbreaks/sma14-4885


Tips for Parents:

  1. Routine!  Keeping your child on a consistent schedule while at home.

  2. Limit your children’s exposure to social media.

  3. Encourage your child to talk about their feelings and access counseling resources as necessary.

  4. Practice self-care so that you are better able to care for your loved ones.

    1. Unplug

    2. Get fresh air & movement

    3. Wash your hands frequently & practice social distancing

    4. Stay hydrated


March 15, 2020
RSU # 71 is closed from Monday, March 16 through April 26, reopening on Monday, April 27.  Free go-bag breakfast and lunch will be available to all RSU 71 students Monday through Friday from 8 - 12 at CASS, East and Ames, beginning tomorrow.

Click here for a letter of explanation from Superintendent McLean.

This site has been recommended by an epidemiologist:
In the event of schools closing, The Game Loft, as an after school program, will also be closed.  However, as a food bank they will still be providing food to any school age child,  current member or not, in a grab and go bag format.  The Game Loft has been and will remain an important resource for our children.

More information may be available at The Game Loft website.  If you would like more information, emailing Ray or Patricia at estabrook72@gmail.com may get you a quicker response than the website.

March 14, 2020



March 13, 2020

Here are two great summary sheets from the CDC and the NASP/NASN:



March 12, 2020


 REGIONAL SCHOOL UNIT #71

Belfast ∙ Belmont ∙ Morrill ∙ Searsmont ∙ Swanville


Mary Alice McLean

Office of the Superintendent

PO Box 325

Belfast, ME  04915

Telephone:  207/338-1960 | Fax: 207/338-4597


March 12, 2020

Dear RSU # 71 Community, 

As you are probably aware, a lot of new information about Coronavirus was shared yesterday: the World Health Organization labeled this as a global pandemic, Germany’s leader Angela Merkel stated that 60- 70% of the population could become infected, the NBA suspended its season, many colleges and universities will not have students return after spring break, and preliminary studies have shown that the virus can live up to 2 days on plastic and stainless steel and 3 hours in the air. 

We have done our best to stay informed and consult with local public health officials. Given the status of the current situation, we have taken additional measures since my last communication on our district website. We are taking the situation very seriously. 

I am providing information about other questions you might have below: 

Events -  We have not yet suspended our participation in outside student and public events, but may well need to do so. Two exceptions are: 1) tomorrow’s night’s dance at THMS, which we are cancelling due to close body contact and close quarters in the cafeteria, and 2) rec department basketball games scheduled for over the weekend. (There are no custodians hired to clean and disinfect the gym, which is what happens after all events during the week.)

Spring Sports -  Right now, our plan is to proceed with the spring sports season, knowing we may well need to cancel practices and games as time goes by. 

MEA Testing (grades 3 – 8) and SAT Testing -  Maine continues to work under the assumption that we will be able to begin state MEA testing later in March as planned. There is a testing window during which schools are expected to do the testing. Should Maine schools be impacted with COVID-19, there is the possibility of extending the assessment window to provide additional time to administer the assessments. The College Board is also looking into whether to reschedule the SAT, though it has not yet done so.

Staff Travel -  We are not yet suspending participation in conferences and workshops, but may well need to do so. 

Potential for School Closure -  We don’t know if we will face this situation, but we are planning for it just in case.  We hope to provide lunch (and breakfast) even if we close. We would use remote electronic learning at grades levels where feasible (most likely 5 – 12). We are still working on figuring out the best approach for grades K-4. We would not enter into a school closing lightly and recognize it would be an incredibly difficult decision. We know that closing our schools would be  extremely disruptive to our community on several levels. We also know it may be the only option for the health of the community. All of those needs are important, and we hope that the community will trust our decision-making process, together with public health officials, if we are faced with that question. More detailed plans will be forthcoming regarding student and staff expectations in the event of a school closing. 

Personal Travel -  I urge everyone to reconsider travel plans. Airports and airplanes are breeding grounds for contagions and traveling exposes us to far greater numbers of people from a much wider geographic area. 

Further Planning - Tomorrow we are convening a meeting of school nurses, administrators, directors of technology, food service, transportation and maintenance as well as our district physician, CDC representatives, and our Waldo County Director of Emergency Management. Additional information will be sent to you all after that meeting.

Thank you - Thank you for your patience and the work you will do as we manage this extraordinary and evolving situation. Our community is strong, caring, and resilient. Working together will allow us to meet this challenge and ensure the health and safety of our community. Please feel free to be in touch with me and with other members of our administrative team with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely, 

Mary Alice


  

  

March 2, 2020

There has been a lot of news of late about the importance of preparing for the coronavirus (known as COVID-19). The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that individuals and families follow everyday preventive measures below:

  • Voluntary Home Isolation: Students, staff, families, and community members should stay home when sick with respiratory disease symptoms. At the present time, these symptoms are more likely due to influenza or other respiratory viruses than to the COVID-19-related virus.
  • Respiratory Etiquette: Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can.
  • Hand Hygiene: Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • When Out and About - If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
  • Environmental Health Action: Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects

Routine use of these measures by individuals and their families will increase community resilience and readiness for responding to an outbreak.


We will continue to teach and practicing handwashing in our schools. (There is more involved in doing it well than one would think!) Below please find a link to some videos showing best practices in handwashing.


https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-pty-pty_email&hsimp=yhs-pty_email&hspart=pty&p=handwashing&_guc_consent_skip=1583088297#id=1&vid=9e2148ec73ea54838861327c987a29bb&action=view


Please feel free to be in touch if you have any questions.