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Return to School Parent Handbook
Return to School Parent Handbook
Dedham School
Thursday, August 27, 2020

Dedham School

Return to School Guidelines for Students and Families

2020-2021

(August 25, 2020)

In response to COVID-19, the Dedham School will comply with the guidelines set forth by the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC), as well as the Maine Department of Education.  Our goal is to continue to minimize the risk of possible transmission of COVID-19 and to have as many students as possible come to school for instruction as safely as we can.  

We will begin the 2020-2021 school year with a Hybrid Model of instruction where we have 50% of the students every other day with no students on Wednesdays.  This will allow us to reduce the total number of people in the building which makes it possible for us to maintain safe social distancing, minimize the amount of student to student contact, and maximize our transportation capacity while following the guidelines from the CDC.

We recognize that the 2020-2021 school year will be unlike anything students, families, and staff have experienced before.  We consider the safety of your children as our collective responsibility and the Dedham School staff will be diligent in our efforts to provide a safe environment for the overall wellbeing of the “whole child”.  We will continue to focus on meeting the academic and social/emotional needs of our students and work tirelessly to successfully meet this challenge.  Working together we will get through these challenging times and become stronger for it.          

The following guidelines and information are in place for the opening of the 2020-2021 school year.  These guidelines and information are subject to change based on any new guidance received from the Maine CDC and Maine Department of Education.  Information will be revised if/when this occurs. 

Jeffrey Paul, Principal

Dedham School 

DAILY SELF SCREENING ASSESSMENT

Prior to boarding the bus or drop off at school, Parents/Guardians are required to conduct a daily self screening assessment with their children to check for symptoms of COVID-19.

The following questions must be answered:

  1. Within the past 24 hours, have you had a fever (100.4 and above) or used any fever reducing medicine?  

  2. Do you feel sick with any symptoms consistent with COVID-19? (such as a new cough, shortness of breath, chills, body aches, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea)

  3. Have you been around anyone who is unwell?  

  4. Have you been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19?

  5. Have you or your family traveled out of state within the past 14 days?  

If the answer to any of these questions is YES, please keep your child home from school and contact the school office. 

 

WHEN SOMEONE IS SICK

  • Parents/Guardians will avoid exposing others by ensuring their child remains home if they experience any signs or symptoms of respiratory illness or a fever of 100.4 or higher. 

  • Students will not be penalized for missing school when required to stay home under these guidelines.  The school nurse or personnel will ask about symptoms when absences are reported.

  • If a student develops a fever during school hours, a medical isolation room has been designated for students to wait for their parents to pick them up immediately.  

  • Students should not return to school unless they are fever free for 24 hours (1 day) without fever-reducing medication and symptom-free for 24 hours.  

  • Any area used by a sick person will be closed until proper disinfection has been completed.

PREVENTION MEASURES 

  • All students must practice proper handwashing guidelines and use hand sanitizer upon entering the school, their classroom, before and after donning and removing face coverings/masks, and throughout the day. Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after eating, after coughing/sneezing, and after using the restroom. 

  • All students must practice proper CDC infection control measures:

  • If coughing or sneezing, students must cover their mouth and nose with a tissue, or the inside of their elbow, and immediately discard the tissue.

  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.

  • Avoid touching any surfaces unnecessarily.

  • Refrain from physical contact, including hugs and handshakes. 

  • Restroom procedures will be established to limit the number of students in the hallway and restrooms at one time.  

  • Students should only bring to school what is absolutely essential for each day.  Any items brought to school should fit into a single backpack.

  • Classrooms will be reconfigured to allow physical distance with students facing in on direction. 

  • The use of lockers will be suspended.  Students will be allowed to carry a backpack with them. 

  • Sharing of items (electronic devices, toys, books, games, or learning aids) will be discouraged and restricted.  

  • Each child’s belongings will be separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies, or areas.  

  • Open houses and back-to-school events will be facilitated virtually. 

  • Field trips, assemblies, and other large gatherings will not be allowed. 

FACE COVERINGS / MASKS

  • All students are required to wear a face covering/mask that covers their nose and mouth when in the presence of others at all times throughout the school day.  

  • Face coverings/masks must be worn when entering or exiting the school, while traveling in hallways, and generally when moving about the school.  Exceptions may include, but are not limited to:

  • While eating

  • While on the playground, if social distancing allows

  • When the student’s face cannot safely be covered due to a medical condition in which case a doctor’s note must be provided and the student would wear a face shield.  

  • Face coverings/masks must be worn by all students utilizing transportation by bus or van. 

  • All students with disposable face coverings/masks, these should be replaced daily.  If cloth, these should be washed daily.  Face coverings are subject to meeting current dress code standards in regards to the appropriateness of language/images, etc. 

  • Face shields may be an alternative for those students with a medical, behavioral, or other challenges who are unable to wear face coverings/masks.  Face shields worn in place of a face covering/mask must extend below the chin and back to the ears.

  • Face covering/mask breaks will be provided for students throughout the day on a daily basis.  

BUSING / TRANSPORTATION

  • Parents/Guardians are encouraged to transport their child to and from school, if able.

  • Physical distancing is recommended at bus stops and during pick up and drop off.  

  • Students are required to wear a face covering/mask at all times while on the bus, including upon entering and exiting.

  • Students must use hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting the bus.  Hand sanitizer will be provided on the bus.  

  • Students will be seated one student per seat next to the window and distanced according to guidelines with the seat directly behind the driver remaining open.

  • Families/siblings will be allowed to sit together.  

  • Bus drivers will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces between each bus run. 

MORNING DROP-OFF  

Following Maine CDC guidelines for public school systems, we will need to follow a specific protocol in regards to morning student drop-off.  Parents will not be allowed in the building without a scheduled appointment, limiting the amount of people from the public in the building at one time.  Our hope is to be able do this as quickly and smoothly as possible for everyone.  Please be patient with us for the first few days as we learn how to do this ourselves.    

  • In light of the current situation we are no longer able to offer a 7:30am bus room for parents/guardians to drop students off early.

  • Parents are asked to drop students off no earlier than 8:00am as teachers will need to meet and prepare for the day. It is imperative that teachers have this time to be ready as they will be unable to leave the room once school starts. Teacher supervision of students will not begin until 8:00am.

  • Students will enter the building using their designated entrance and immediately sanitize their hands and go directly to their classroom. 

  • A Dedham School staff member will be outside each drop off spot to welcome students.  

  • Grades PreK-1 will enter through the front door.

  • Grades 2-3 will enter through the back door.  Please drop the students off in the upper parking lot near the back driveway.

  • Grades 4-5 will enter through the back door near the gym.  Please drop the students off in the upper parking lot near the back driveway.

  • Middle School students will enter through the middle school doors.  Please drop students off in the lower parking lot near the middle school wing.   

AFTERNOON PICK-UP 

Following Maine CDC guidelines for public school systems, we will need to follow a specific protocol in regards to afternoon student pick-up.  Parents will not be allowed in the building without a scheduled appointment, limiting the amount of people from the public in the building at one time.  Our hope is to be able do this as quickly and smoothly as possible for everyone.  Please be patient with us for the first few days as we learn how to do this ourselves.

  • Students may be picked up between 2:50-3:00.  

  • A Dedham School staff member will approach your vehicle and call for your child. Students will be called to exit the building using their designated exit and go directly to your vehicle.

  • Grades PreK-1 will exit through the front door.

  • Grades 2-3 will exit through the back door.  Please pick up the students in the upper parking lot near the back driveway.

  • Grades 4-5 will exit through the back door near the gym.  Please pick up the students in the upper parking lot near the back driveway.

  • Middle School students will exit through the middle school doors.  Please pick up students in the lower parking lot near the middle school wing.  

ATTENDANCE

The Maine Department of Education requires that attendance be taken daily.  In order to be considered “in attendance” students are expected to interact and respond to their teachers everyday.  This may include any of the following: 

  • Google check in forms

  • Questions to answer on Google Classroom or Seesaw

  • Email

  • Submitting assigned work

  • Class participation during scheduled class time

  • Student participation during scheduled related services

  • Phone call or video meeting with teacher or related service provider

Attendance will not be based on assignment completion. Families will be contacted if students do not complete the required check ins.  

GRADING EXPECTATIONS

  • Grading expectations for all subject areas will be the same as “pre-COVID” grading.

  • Students will be expected to complete the work at grade level in order to advance.

FOOD DISTRIBUTION / MEALS / SNACKS

  • Students will remain in classrooms for all snacks and meals.  

  • Students will maintain six (6) feet of physical distance while eating snacks and lunch as students will be unable to wear face coverings/masks during these times. 

  • Students are encouraged to bring a full water bottle each day as water fountains will be closed. Bottles may be refilled using our filling stations.  Water filling stations will be sanitized along with all other frequently touched surfaces.  

  • Shared food is prohibited.  Parents are asked to only send food for their child and not class consumption (i.e. birthdays, holiday celebrations).

  • No microwave oven will be available for student use.

  • Students will be required to practice proper handwashing/sanitizing prior to eating. 

CLASSROOM SETTING

  • Classroom seating will be configured with maximum allowable space between students and all desks facing the same direction when possible. 

  • Elementary and middle school schedules will be developed in a way that will limit student movement and/or interactions between student groups throughout the day.  

  • Teachers and staff will modify instructional plans to reduce student contact, sharing of materials or equipment, and maintain appropriate physical distancing to the greatest extent possible.  

  • Common touch surfaces will be sanitized throughout the day.  

PLAYGROUND USE 

  • Use of designated playground equipment and supplies will be allowed under close monitoring.

  • Use of face coverings/masks will NOT be required during this time as long as physical distancing is maintained.  

  • Limits will be placed on the number of students on equipment at one time.  

  • Students will have scheduled recess as a classroom in a designated area.

  • Students will wash their hands/use sanitizer before and after using playground equipment.  

  • Playground equipment (swings, slides, etc.) will be sanitized after each recess period before the next group uses them.  Playground supplies (balls, jump ropes, hula hoops, etc.) will be stored in labeled bins for each classroom’s use. Supplies will be sanitized after each use. 

HYBRID MODEL

  • Pod 1 students will attend school on Monday and Thursday and work remotely at home on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

  • Pod 2 students will attend school on Tuesday and Friday and work remotely at home on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

  • Wednesday will focus primarily on remote instruction from our specialist teachers (Art, Music, PE, Spanish).  

  • Teachers will provide the same instruction for each Pod on the alternate days.

  • Lessons and activities will be assessed and/or graded.    

  • Lessons and activities will be delivered through both synchronous and asynchronous learning methods.

  • As a general rule, Grade K-2 students will have about 1-2 hours of work to be completed at home, Grade 3-5 students will have about 2-3 hours, and Grade 6-8 students will have about 3-4 hours of work. These are general guidelines for total hours of work (not screen time) and will vary from student to student.

  • Students will be expected to complete at least one of the “check ins” listed in the attendance section on remote “at home” days in order to be considered present.  

  • Teachers may not be available to answer questions for students that are on the remote “at home” days because they will be instructing in-person learners at school.  Students are encouraged to use Google Classroom or SeeSaw to pose questions for help from classmates. 

  • Anytime a student may be struggling with completing the work, please contact the school for support - we will try to accommodate with other resources. 

HYBRID DAY SCHEDULE

  • Students arrive at school no earlier than 8:00am.

  • Students will go directly to their classrooms upon arrival.

  • Schedule will be very similar to a “normal” school day.

  • Students will remain in their classrooms most of the day.

  • Breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be in the classroom.

  • Students will have daily mask breaks and outside activity.  

  • Students may be picked up between 2:50-3:00pm.

  • Bus students will be dismissed at 3:00pm.  

       

WEDNESDAY “FLEX” DAY

  • This is a full working day for everyone - students and staff. 

  • The primary focus will be on remote instruction from our specialist teachers (Art, Music, PE, Spanish).  

  • Classroom teachers will be meeting, planning instruction and be available to answer questions from students.   

  • Students should be checking in, meeting with specialist teachers and working on any assignments.   

 

TECHNOLOGY EXPECTATIONS

  • In a hybrid or remote instruction model, 1:1 devices will be provided to each PreK-8 student.  These devices will be transported by the student between school and home.

  • Students will be responsible for having devices ready for all classes.

  • Students will be responsible for the daily care of the devices as required by school expectations.

  • Students will be responsible for having their device properly stored when not in use.

  • Students will be responsible for appropriate use of the device.

  • Students will be responsible for damage to the device.    

  • Parents/Guardians agree to return the borrowed devices at the end of the school year, unless otherwise determined, to be cleaned and disinfected.  

  • Sharing of devices between students will be discouraged. If it is required, devices will be sanitized after each shared use.

  • SeeSaw will be the common platform for students in grades PreK-4. 

  • Google Classroom will be the common platform for students in grades 5-8.

  • Google Meet will be the platform for remote meetings with students.  

  • If there is a need for technology devices and/or internet, please contact the school.  We will try to accommodate as best we can.

STUDENT / PARENT EXPECTATIONS FOR VIRTUAL MEETINGS

  • Attendance will be taken at each virtual session. 

  • Students will be expected to follow these guidelines:

  • Be prepared: be on time, charge your device at night, be ready with pencil, paper, and completed work.

  • Be ready: Can we see your happy face? Can we hear you? Are you in a quiet space in your home?

  • Mute yourself: if the teacher is teaching - mute your microphone to cut down on extra noise.

  • Headphones: Use headphones if you have them (makes it easier to hear and less disruptive to others in your home!)

  • Chat responsibly: Use the chat to type:  ? = I have a question; ! = I have something to share. 

  • Participation: be focused, be attentive, be kind, participate, eat before/after the meeting.       

PARENTS / GUARDIANS / VOLUNTEERS

  • Parents/Guardians will minimize face-to-face meetings by utilizing alternative methods to receive updates (i.e. email, conference call, phone call, web-based meetings).

  • Any Parent/Guardian needing to enter the building will be by appointment only. 

  • Parents/Guardians will be asked the same screening questions as students prior to entering the building. If any response is “yes”, the parent/guardian will not be allowed into the building. If allowed into the building, parents/guardians:

  • Must wear a face covering while in the building

  • Must use the sanitizing station upon entry and maintain a social distance of six (6) feet.

  • Must attend to their specific business and leave immediately following. 

  • Upon entering the building, volunteers must follow the same guidelines as visitors listed above.