News

RSU 68 directors approve distance learning plan

Share or Comment

DOVER-FOXCROFT — With school closed through at least Friday, March 27 due to the coronavirus pandemic, RSU 68 students will be learning via distance rather than in the classroom. The RSU 68 school board approved a formal motion to change the manner of instruction to distance learning while school is not in session, during an emergency meeting on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 17 at the SeDoMoCha School.

 

Superintendent Stacy Shorey said planning for home instruction via packets and technology began the previous Friday before the formal decision to close for the next two weeks was made. “Today we had parents/guardians come and pick up distance learning packets,” she said with about 640 packets out of the 683-student body collected in the parking lot from staff. Parents/guardians could also get children’s items from lockers and cubbies on Tuesday.

 

“I have to say that it is just amazing,” Shorey said with the packet numbers equaling more than 93 percent gathered to take home. She said the distance learning packages include schedule guidelines, including academic time, a recess and time for snacks as students would have during a day at school.

 

SeDoMoCha Dover-Foxcroft

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
DISTANCE LEARNING — With school closed due to the coronavirus virus, SeDoMoCha School students will be learning at home as the RSU 68 school board voted to change the manner of instruction to distance learning during a March 17 emergency meeting.

 

“We served 105 lunches today,” the superintendent added. “Tomorrow we are providing lunches at stops then we will go door to door if we need to.”

 

Students 18 and under will be provided with meals with pickups at five sites across each of the four district communities. More information is available at sedomocha.org.

 

“Our staff is amazing,” Shorey said. “They have worked hard to put things together, I couldn’t be prouder.”

 

“We are anticipating more than two weeks,” she said about a school closure for a time length to be determined. 

 

When asked Shorey said discussions are being held on how district employees would be paid should classes not be held into April or beyond. She said later in the week area superintendents were set to meet to examine this in-depth and try to have a similar plan for across the region.

 

Foxcroft Academy Head of School Arnold Shorey was in attendance and officials at the secondary school began planning for a prolonged school closure in advance with more specific lesson plans set up last week. “We have tools in place,” he said with students being able to use their iPads and other devices for online lessons.

 

Shorey thanked Rowell’s Garage and Weymouth, Inc. for delivering iPads to students’ homes. The head of school said Foxcroft Academy officials are also working to assist families who do not have Internet access at home. He said about 75 percent of the student body has checked in with their teachers so far, with about 100 pupils remaining.

 

“Everything we have to our access, we are accessing it,” Shorey said.

 

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
NEW FLOOR — Wood for the new gym floor at the SeDoMoCha School is being installed. Over the winter a pipe burst in the athletic director’s office, causing water to flood in the gymnasium and cafeteria. The playing surface was a total loss due to the water damage and as a result physical education classes and athletics had to be readjusted to accommodate the loss of the use of the gym.

 

Stacy Shorey said for SeDoMoCha, middle-schoolers have their computers at home and grades 2-4 could also have similar devices to use during the school closure if it lasts beyond the end of March. If this decision is made then the bus drivers could drop off the computers. SeDoMoCha has 1-to-1 technology for grades 2-8.

 

The head of school and other Foxcroft Academy officials are recording daily announcements for online viewing. “We are trying to keep a sense of normalcy and humor as well,” Arnold Shorey said. He said instruction is not live, as teachers record lessons and respond after their students have viewed the clips. Pupils can also send videos back, such as showing their work on a math problem.

 

Board Chair Jenny Chase asked about grading during the school closure.

 

“It’s going to happen because I agree with Mrs. Shorey this is going to be more than two weeks,” Arnold Shorey responded. He said there are ways to monitor students during the test-taking process and English teachers could ask students to write in response to reading assignments.

 

“I think we will learn a lot, it’s a silver lining,” Shorey said. “We will learn more about online learning and how it can help kids.”

 

He said the school has about 60 boarding students in Dover-Foxcroft at the present time. “We sent a message to their parents that they’re safer here,” he said, instead of trying to get home and being stuck in an airport under quarantine. Shorey said seven students are traveling home.

 

The boarding students remaining on campus are staying mostly in their dorms but are able to use the gym and are eating brunch and dinner in the cafeteria. “We want to get the students out and not cooped up in the dormitories,” Shorey said.

 

Stacy Shorey said for SeDoMoCha, middle-schoolers have their computers at home and grades 2-4 could also have similar devices to use during the school closure if it lasts beyond the end of March. If this decision is made then the bus drivers could drop off the computers. SeDoMoCha has 1-to-1 technology for grades 2-8.

Share or Comment

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.