St. John Valley

Van Buren District School reports successful first week of classes

VAN BUREN, Maine — With safety in mind and staff glad to return to work, Van Buren District School reported a successful first week of classes during the age of COVID-19.

Public relations representative Alexis Sirois said teachers and staff had a three-day training and workshop in which they made sure that mandates from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Maine Department of Education were in place. 

“On Wednesday, Aug. 19, students were welcomed with enthusiastic teachers who were eager to have some life brought back into their classrooms,” Sirois said in a release. “With the first few days under their belts and all the little kinks worked out, staff at VBDS are feeling optimistic about what the school year has to bring.”

Prior to the start of school, Superintendent Elaine Boulier sent out a letter to parents to outline the way school would be conducted when the students returned. 

In the letter, Boulier said that for the six weeks leading up to harvest break, each class in grades Pre-K to 4 will be split up so that half of the students are attending school in the morning while half attend school in the afternoon. 

“Half of the students attend school for a morning session of learning and the rest of the group attends for an afternoon session, allowing time in between to perform the proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures,” Sirois said. 

In accordance with the guidelines provided by Gov. Janet Mills’ administration, students and parents were informed that students are required to wear a face covering while in school as well. 

Teachers are also required to wear face masks, as well as everyone in the building, said Sirois. Students who show up to the school without a mask will be provided with one on site, and those who ride the bus are also required to wear a mask and will be provided one at the bus doors if they do not have one. 

Parents were given the option to enroll their students in remote-only learning until harvest break, when Sirois said the administration will then reevaluate the mandates and current situation. Of the 264 enrolled students, 27 are currently enrolled in remote learning. 

“Staff hope to remain in school for the duration of the year doing what they enjoy and do best, educate and touch the lives of our community’s youth,” Sirois said. 

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