August 27th, 2021

Bonjour,

Here we are at the start of another year! Welcome to all new-to-L'Ecole families and to those returning to new classrooms. It's so fun to see your children grow year after year and to be reminded just how small "les petits" are when they first begin. In a few weeks, we'll all be accustomed to the new routines, faces, and vocabulary being learned at L'Ecole this year.

This newsletter includes the current 2021 school year COVID protocols, shared in our summer letter, as well as a few updates and reminders about this year's allergy alerts.

Please be sure to check the schedule to see when you may attend your classroom teacher's "Back to School" week presentation, a chance for families in each classroom to meet directly with their teacher, ask questions, and get to know one another. We are planning to host these small gatherings beneath the tent in the backyard of La Maison next door. The date and time of your classroom's meeting can be found below. All parents attending must be masked and are asked to utilize the spacious tent and grounds space, spreading out to ensure a safe gathering.

Teachers are making an effort to introduce themselves and connect with all families in the few minutes at drop-off and pick-up, and provide the younger students with time to say goodbye in the mornings: thank you for your patience as these transition times become smoother with each passing day! If after Back to School week you'd still like to chat directly with your child's teacher, they are always available to schedule either a remote or in-person brief chat.

More notes regarding communication efforts to come will be found here too-- another year of artsonia, and soon to come info regarding SeeSaw communications. And this year's first peek into every new classroom!

As always, please reach out to Emily in the office with any questions: office@frenchschool.me
Covid Protocols and Recommendations
To reinstate our protocols for this year, please be sure to familiarize yourself with the following presentation:
Download ==> 2021-2022 protocols and recommendations.pdf 
Here is a summary of our 2021-2022 protocols and recommendations:
  • We encourage all parents/caretakers/older siblings to get vaccinated.
  • Masks will be required for all members of our school community inside the school during operating hours (teachers and staff, students, and parents, as well as vendors, volunteers, and visitors) and are recommended outside on the school grounds.
  • Masks will be required inside regardless of vaccination status.
  • Access to the school building is limited to essential workers and students. 
  • COVID 19 PCR will not be required before school starts.
  • Domestic travel doesn't require testing either before or afterward. 
  • International travel requires testing 3-5 days after return.
Procedures if Someone Becomes Ill or Exposed to COVID-19
  1. If a child becomes ill during the day, they will be isolated in the room near the main office, and the school will notify parents to pick them up immediately.
  2. If a staff member becomes ill during the day, they must go home.
  3. If a child or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, the school will notify the entire school community. Possible outcomes include staying open, closing a classroom temporarily, or closing the school temporarily. Regardless, rigorous cleaning and sanitizing of the school, inside and out, will precede any return of students and staff.
Guidelines for quarantine after exposure to a person with COVID-19:
  1. Exposure to COVID is defined as having close (within 6 feet) contact with a COVID-positive person for a period of at least 15 minutes in a 24 hour during which they would be considered contagious. Persons are considered contagious, beginning 48 hours before exposure. The use of masks decreases but does not fully remove the risk of transmission and therefore is not taken into consideration when defining an exposure.
  2. If an unvaccinated parent is exposed to a person with COVID-19, the parent must quarantine for 10 days, consistent with state and federal CDC guidance. A PCR COVID test 7 days into the quarantine is recommended to help assure that an exposed person is not an asymptomatic carrier. The negative test does not shorten the quarantine period of 10 days per Maine CDC recommendations. Children of exposed parents do not need to quarantine UNLESS the parent develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID. These children would still be permitted to attend school provided they can be safely picked up and dropped off by someone, not under quarantine.
  3. If a vaccinated parent is exposed to a person with COVID-19, the parent is NOT required to quarantine but must monitor their symptoms and get tested if any symptoms develop. It is also strongly recommended that vaccinated persons exposed to COVID-19 wear a mask whenever around others for a period of 10 days.
  4. Students at EFDM who are exposed directly to someone with COVID-19 must follow the guidelines for unvaccinated parents above. As vaccinations for children are available, the school will issue updated guidance on quarantine for vaccinated students.
The school is extremely grateful to the following parents, who are medical professionals, for sharing their time, expertise and for helping us write clear protocols.
At l'Ecole Française du Maine: 
Dr. James Gallea, MD, Emergency Medicine Specialist
Dr. Lisa Lucas, DO, Primary Care Physician
At the French American School of Tampa Bay:
Dr. Gaetane Michaud, MD, Pulmonary Critical Care, Tampa General Hospital and USF Tampa

Allergy Alerts for 2021-2022
Thank you for returning health forms and emergency forms! After a thorough review of each student's forms, please be sure to take note of the following allergies:

We remain a TREE NUT FREE FACILITY. There is a severe allergy to Tree Nuts within our school community. Despite extra efforts of cleaning and assuring no sharing of food this year more than ever, we are asking all classes to refrain from packing a lunch with any "trace of tree nuts". Almonds specifically are OK, as are peanuts.

Teachers (and older students!) are already in the habit of checking ingredient lists, but please be aware that many granola bars and similar snacks often contain traces of tree nuts. Refrain from packing these kinds of snacks. These snacks will not be allowed to be opened at school. Please only pack snacks that have clearly listed ingredient labels, or are made up of or from obviously tree-nut free ingredients.

There are no other serious allergies that families need to be cognizant of this year.
Maine's 2021 Vaccine Law
With the passing of the law requiring certain vaccines for all students in childcare centers of Maine, as well as K-12, we wanted to share the following infographic for families who may have any questions. We are so appreciative of your compliance with the changing law. Please let us know if you have any further questions that may not be answered on this helpful two page document.


"Back to School" Week Teacher Presentations
In order to ensure all questions are answered at the start of the year, we wanted to continue our tradition of "Back to School" week. All parents are welcome to attend their student's teacher presentation, bringing a mask and any burning questions.

Please feel free to walk directly to the large white tent at the designated time via the front of La Maison next door to L'Ecole, following the paved walkway. All children will be able to stay and play at school while parents are meeting. If meetings extend past 3:30, no charge for aftercare will take place for those with parents in the meeting.

Monday, August 30, 2021 3:00
Simon Aubert (CE2, CM1, CM2- 3rd, 4th, and 5th)

Tuesday, August 31, 2021 3:00
Elodie Chancelier (CP and CE1- 1st and 2nd) and Raphaël Robin

Tuesday August 31, 2021 3:30
Amy Johansen (English Language Arts for grades 2 and 3-4-5)

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 3:00
Alison Soleilhac (TPS-PS- Preschool) and Angélique Rutega, Molly Doccola

Thursday, September 2, 2021 3:00
Victorien Rami (GS- Kindergarten) and Jacob Simard

Friday, September 3, 2021 3:00
Marie Da Silva (MS- Pre K) and Martine Goldberg
Communication apps
Be on the lookout for some upcoming chances to build bridges of communication with your classroom teacher this year. This week, we'll focus on the Back to School Meetings. In the upcoming weeks, we'll be introducing the app SeeSaw to new families, as well as sending out reminders for accessing our online art-exhibit app, Artsonia!
Late Summer Notes
Although the school year has begun, it still feels like summer out there in the sun.

Please be sure to apply sun screen to your student on forecasted sunny days, and make sure to pack (and label) a sun hat for kids who are too busy running around on the playground to worry about the heat.

In order to keep our lost-and-found relatively empty, please make sure to label all personal items with your child's name or initials. With parents unable to assist during transition times at cubbies, labels are incredibly helpful for keeping track.

Also to save our lost-and-found box and to limit germs at school, please refrain from bringing toys from home. A dou-dou or stuffie for nap time is always ok to bring.
Peek Into the Classrooms - Week 1
Our newest friends at L'Ecole have been settling in well! These are very big changes for young families, but we are so excited to share the experience with all these new petits! They've been getting to know one another and their new teachers, as well as their beautiful newly arranged classroom this week. Merci Alison, Angelique, and Molly for all of your care and preparations for starting the year off smoothly.
Moyenne Section students started the year without skipping a beat! Painting, playing, learning routines and seeing old friends and new. It's going to be a great year with Marie and Martine.
This year's Grande Section/Kindergarten class are certainly growing up quick! This week they've kept very busy drawing, playing games, and learning the new stations in their classroom. Thanks to Victorien and Jacob for making sure every day has been filled with interesting and fun things to do and learn.
Elodie is overjoyed to share her classroom with new CP and CE1 students. They've already built some cool new forts in the forest, and are loving their new "big kid" responsibilities and routines inside the classroom. Bravo les enfants!
Simon's CE2, CM1, et CM2 (3rd, 4th, and 5th grade) class is off to just as fabulous a start! Merci to Simon for getting everyone started on the right foot with great "new year" rentrée activities. They've even already had their first Sport session avec Raphael!
Window to the past ... just for fun
May 7th, 2017: Kindergarten class visit Casco Castle! In South Freeport, a castle once stood high on the hill. It was called Casco Castle, and it ruled the social scene of its day. Built in 1903 by Amus Gerald, the grand summer resort had several attractive amusements; a zoo with wolves, deer, and even bison. A baseball diamond and swimming area.