By the AOS 91 School Board
The AOS 91 School Board writes this letter to all Mount Desert Island Regional School System staff to thank each and every one of you who have worked tirelessly over the past two years to educate, nurture and care for our children, their families and our community.
The past couple of years have been challenging in ways too numerous to fully mention and you have faced those challenges with dedication, thoughtfulness and creativity. We are honored by the work that you have done. Our children are beyond fortunate because of your efforts and we, the members of the AOS 91 School Board, are deeply grateful.
In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic upended all of our lives and you were required to switch to remote learning. The logistical effort required of you to make that transition in the face of so many unknowns, arranging for technology solutions, public health precautions, adapted lesson plans and meals made available – sometimes delivered – to families who needed them was enormous.
While your adapting to remote learning was a successful effort, we all knew that this was no substitute for in-person learning. Our children, our families and our community needed our schools open for in-person learning. You implemented numerous accommodations to ensure the safe return to school for the 2020-2021 school year – daily wellness checkins, one-way corridors, spacing between children, ventilation improvements, adapted learning spaces and outdoor learning, to name but a few. Many schools throughout the nation remained remote as COVID-19 continued to sicken millions. But here, your efforts resulted in a nearly complete and full in-person academic year for our children.
COVID-19, however, was not done with us yet as you were required to complete yet another academic year in 2021-2022 in-person. This time you had additional tools available including vaccines, improved masks, pool testing and an improved understanding of viral spread, but still with an ever-evolving virus at large. Through all of this, the work of our nurses, our wellness teams and others to check in each day with every child who walked into the building was another critical part of your success in keeping our schools open and the spread of COVID-19 inside our schools at a consistently low level. We can never fully repay you for the personal risks you took for the educational and emotional well-being of our children.
We want you to know and we want our community to know how much you have been asked to give and how much more than that you have given to our children and communities at great personal sacrifice and cost. You are admirable examples of true public servants that the community should never take for granted. We wish you all a well-deserved restorative respite this summer and look forward to working with you in a spirit of optimism and collaboration in the fall.
The AOS 91 School Board represents the towns of Bar Harbor, Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor, Tremont, Trenton, Cranberry Isles, Frenchboro and Swan’s Island.