Dear Gorham School Community,
I am writing to let you know that given the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in our region, and the recent declaration of Governor Mills of a Civil Emergency, The Gorham Schools will be extending our school closures until Monday, April 27, 2020. Of course as conditions continue to change we will constantly re-assess this decision and make adjustments as conditions may warrant it. Please continue to follow daily updates on my blog posts, which can be found from the main page of our Gorham Website www.gorhamschools.org.
During this time all schools and school facilities will be closed to the public as they have been for the past week. Our teachers will continue to work with care, thoughtfulness and skill to provide learning opportunities for ALL students. A letter will be going out later today from Kathy Hamblen more specifically addressing the needs of our special education students. Our daily school lunch program will be expanding soon to include breakfast and lunch and plans are to open up the program to community wide needs by the end of this month. If you are in need of a school lunch, this program is open to ANY FAMILY. Please reach out to Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org.
During this first week of distance learning, we have moved into a different way of conducting school. Our aim this first week has been to connect with our students, provide some structure and have all, students and teachers alike, experience a degree of success. We have provided meals at four sites across the community and worked to ensure that all of our students and families have resources to make sure that learning continues to happen. We are proud of the work that the staff and community have done together this week. At the same time we know that this is not a sprint, but a marathon. We will look forward to partnering with our community to keep learning happening while keeping our community safe.
As this closure goes longer, I know more and more parents are beginning to ask questions like: Will our children’s school work be graded? Will students be “held back” because of this, will my senior graduate? How will credits be awarded? Etc. Please know we are working to address those very questions at this moment in time and we will soon have more detailed answers. In the meantime, I want to re-emphasize that at this time, our focus should remain on creating the most effective structures for communication possible between home and school. It will be upon these solid structures that we will need to build a more robust system as we move along together. Bottom line, please communicate with teachers – what is working well? What isn’t working? Do you need support in specific areas? This information will allow our teachers to continue to modify and adjust their programming to meet your needs and the needs of your children moving forward.
Please know that while all of this is occurring everyone is working very hard to support YOU and your family! Our teachers are preparing high quality instructional programming to be delivered online, our educational technicians are learning and preparing to support individual learners as we continue this work, Our food service workers and drivers continue to prepare and deliver nutritious meals to all ages, our facilities staff are doing the hard work of cleaning our buildings and making them safe to continue to use and to eventually re-open, our clerks and office staff are behind the scenes organizing it all, our nurses and checking in with families and staff to monitor health, our special ed. staff are working to support families and students, our social workers and guidance counselors are supporting individual families and small groups of students, and our administrators are working hard to coordinate, collaborate, and lead almost 3,000 students, 500+ employees and still maintain their own personal wellness!
Finally, as our health professionals continue to remind all of us: wash your hands, wipe down surfaces, practice social distancing, try not to touch your face, cover your mouth with your arm if you are coughing or sneezing, and stay at home if you are sick. These habits continue to be the most effective defense and our best chance to slow the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). I will continue to post updates on a daily basis. Most importantly, take care of one another.
We are so proud to serve the children and community of Gorham. We know that together we will meet the challenges ahead to keep our students learning and our community safe. PROUD TO BE A RAM!
Heather J. Perry,
Superintendent of Schools