January 7, 2021

Welcome back! Although sad to have missed the lovely dump of snow left on the playground before the winter break, we are so glad to see our friends again and to be back to a routine.

After our online survey result of 100% compliance with the travel protocols for the break, we are so grateful to all of our families for disclosing their plans to stay home this year, and for those who did gather or travel, for providing the details of their quarantining and testing.

As we move into the coming months, we are preparing to tighten down our COVID protocols as needed to ensure we are maintaining a safe community.

To avoid the need for outside childcare during February Vacation, we have decided to host a small vacation camp for those families who replied to our recent survey that childcare was going to be a necessity that week. Read on for link to enroll and for more information.

In lieu of our traditional December School Winter Performance, some classrooms have been very hard at work putting together virtually enjoyed alternatives to the usual singing and dancing. We hope you've enjoyed some of these masterpieces so far and will continue to share them within the next few newsletters! This week: Simon's CE2, CM1, and CM2!

Thanks to all who attended our first ever Ice Arena Friday! If you could not attend this time, we are presently working to schedule another event. Please be on the lookout for sign-up details soon.

As always, please reach out to Emily in the office with any questions: office@frenchschool.me
See you next year, Sugarloaf!
Sadly, our popular Sugarloaf Fridays will not be hosted by EFDM this winter. At the mountain, lesson programs including Minicuffers and Mountain Magic are not taking place this season, thus our school group rates for a day of skiing are not possible.

We understand many families have Sugarloaf condos and Season Passes at the mountain (or other popular ski resorts in Maine!) Those who fall into this category are welcome to enjoy these luxuries in line with their personal comfort level, including taking the previously scheduled Sugarloaf Friday(s) off from school to enjoy a weekday of skiing if you would like, but on behalf of the school community we just ask that you pay extra attention to your social distancing, and follow all protocols at the mountain.

We will be choosing a date for our next Ice Arena Friday soon! Be on the lookout in upcoming newsletters. In the meantime, enjoy some of the scenes from our first outing on the ice this season!
February Vacation Camp: February 15th-19th
Open to only those presently enrolled at EFDM, we are hosting a small February vacation camp for those who require childcare during this week off from school.

This camp will be limited to current students, and to the families who truly have a need for the childcare. As staffing will be limited, it is imperative that we prioritize those who have no alternative plans for their children, and keep numbers small.

If you were one of the few who answered our recent survey that childcare during this week would be an absolute necessity, please follow the link below to enroll.

This camp is an effort to maintain our closed small community group and limit those seeking alternate means of childcare/exposure. The camp will consist of purely childcare, no school work or followed curriculum. More details can be found via the link above!

8:30am-3:30pm Monday through Friday February 15th-19th, enroll by the half or full day, with no extended day option.
Portland Press Herald Photo of the Year Contest
Unbearable suspense !
Hatcher's photo in the Portland Press Herald Story of June 14, 2020 has been nominated for photo of the year! results very soon ....
Continued Travel/Gathering Policy
We would like all families to be reminded of our Community Pledge.

The current protocols in place from the holiday break will remain for anyone traveling/gathering outside of their household, something strongly recommended against.

  • Families and staff who avoid travel and stay within pods using safety measures such as distancing/masking may continue to attend school without quarantine or testing.

  • Families and staff who choose to travel and/or mix with those outside their household (visiting or hosting) must do one of the following to return to school:

  1. Get a PCR test on the 5th day following your return from travel or your last day of mixing and return with the negative result
  2. Quarantine 10 days following your return from travel or your last day of mixing. (This has been revised from the original 14 day quarantine recommendation to be in accordance with the most recent CDC and Maine CDC guidelines)

Although current state policy deems a few select states as being exempt, our school policy will now be that any family who travels to meet with or hosts anyone from outside their immediate household/pod will be required to perform a 5-day quarantine post travel/exposure, followed by a negative PCR test in order to return to school. Given the degree of community spread of coronavirus in Maine, we can no longer use travel outside the state as the determining factor.

If opting to travel, it is recommended you schedule travel-related testing as soon as possible to ensure a safe and timely return to school. If you have any questions regarding how your family plans match up with these protocols, please do not hesitate to ask us - preferably BEFORE you travel/gather.

These protocols were developed and revised by Dr. Gaetane Michaud, MD, Pulmonary Critical Care, USF Tampa, and parent at the French American School of Tampa Bay and by Dr. James Gallea, MD, Emergency Medicine Specialist and parent at l'Ecole Française du Maine.
Loup Noir
What a project! The CE2, CM1, and CM2 classes worked SO hard to both illustrate and present this captivating winter tale together. Bravo à tous!
Updates from the Classrooms
Building vocabulary every day in Petite Section! We were so excited to welcome two new students to the PS class in this new year.
MS/GS will be creating a special new year's tradition project this week... Parents, be on the lookout for a take-home surprise on Friday!
GS/CP are patiently awaiting more snow, but that hasn't stopped them from enjoying our playground luge at every recess!
CP et CE1 are so happy to be back to school. From indoors in their writing notebooks to outdoors on the luge, this class' energy is wonderful!
If you have a chance to stop at our glass entryway on the parking lot side of the building, CE2, CM1, and CM2 students have written out their wishes for the new year! These bright and hopeful messages are an effort to extend the classroom to the community, with a project that usually would have been displayed in the hallways for parents and family members to view.
21-Day Anti-Racism Challenge
News from our Freeport community at large:

Beginning January 17, the Tri-Town Equity and Inclusion Coalition (Durham, Freeport, Pownal) is launching a 21-Day Anti-Racism Challenge. Sign up with friends, family, and members of your community - be it a book group, a faith group, or a running group. Each day, for three weeks, you will read, watch or listen to a 10-20-minute video, article, or podcast. The Challenge aims to expand awareness of and conversation about systemic racism and to mobilize advocacy for racial and social justice. Want to do this as a family? Check out our list of kids challenges!

Join for the kick-off event in the parking lot of the Freeport Community Center on January 17 at 4 p.m.

For more information or if you have questions please contact Kate Olson, parent at EFDM.
COVID Testing Information
The School thanks School Parent and Physician, Lisa Lucas, DO, for this informative feature article on testing during this rise in COVID 19. Thanks to all for reading and following her advice closely in the best interest of our entire community.

L’ecole Francaise du Maine updated its travel guidelines and we ask you all to consider your risk before school resumes on January 4th, 2021. If your family is traveling for the holidays or hosting guests outside of your immediate pod, you will need to choose between a 10-day quarantine or SARS CoV2 PCR testing before your child can return to school.
This PCR test will need to be at least 5 days after possible exposure. Please plan accordingly as testing accommodations can be difficult to arrange and will be in high demand after the holidays.
We are experiencing a surge in Maine. As we move forward and there is more community
spread, we are all at higher risk of coming in contact with a COVID19 + (SARS CoV2 +) person in Maine. Of note, COVID+ persons are likely contagious 48-72 hours before they begin to show symptoms. Please consider our community with decisions regarding testing and school attendance even if you are not traveling out of the state. Here are a few helpful tools when navigating testing and care.

Who needs to quarantine?
● People who have been in close contact with anyone with COVID 19

● What counts as a "close contact"?
○ You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
○ You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
○ You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
○ You shared eating or drinking utensils
○ They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

● When can I break my quarantine?
○ 10 days since onset of symptoms ​and
○ 24 hours without a fever ​and
○ other symptoms of COVID improving
● OR, if asymptomatic, you can be tested on Day 5 after exposure and stop quarantine after Day 7 if negative.
● If you've had COVID19, there is no need to test or quarantine again within 3 months.

When do I need to test?
● When you have a close contact with a COVID19 (+) person
 ● When you travel and expose yourself to people outside your immediate pod
● When you are having symptoms

Why PCR and not rapid antigen tests? Simply put, not all tests are created equal.
PCR, polymerase chain reaction, is considered the gold standard method. It works by detecting the SARS CoV2 virus’s genetic material (DNA). PCR amplifies the DNA material for improved detection and takes a minimum of 6 hours though results can take up to 7 days.
Antigen tests are faster, usually producing results in 15 minutes similar to a strep or pregnancy test. These tests are detecting antigen, specific proteins on the SARS CoV2 virus, and therefore, best suited in symptomatic patients. Antigen tests are highly specific in that if it is positive, we can rely on that result. There is a higher chance of false negatives. Antibody tests are not appropriate for initial diagnosis.

Where can I get a test in Maine?
● Your physician’s office - If sent directly, turnaround time is 1-2 days
● If your physician is not offering testing, please refer to the Maine CDC for testing sites. https://www.maine.gov/covid19/restartingmaine/keepmainehealthy/testing
● “Swab and send” - This means this site offers testing without a physician’s order. They will be sent to the state (HETL) lab with a 3-7 day turnaround (varies).

When do I get tested after possible exposure?
● PCR testing should be at least 5 days after exposure.
Ideal time to test between day 5 and 7.

When is an antigen test appropriate?
● When you are symptomatic and you need answers quickly to start isolating and
contacting others
● Not appropriate screening test after possible exposure
Thank you to all the families for your continued vigilance. We are all sacrificing to keep our children safe and protect their ability to learn and grow amidst this chaos.

Mom to Sophie, Henry and Oliver
Supplies Wishlist
The cleaning never stops at EFDM... if you are out and about and see any of the following supplies, our teachers would surely appreciate the donation!

  • disinfectant wipes
  • disinfectant spray
  • paper towels
Window in the past ... just for fun
May 4, 2005, Freeport, Maine, Suzuki Concert of L'Ecole Française du Maine.
Elise LeBihan playing "C'est Gugusse avec son Violon" with
Nathan Kolosko, Suzuki Guitar Teacher and EFDM Chorus teacher, providing the accompaniment. www. nathankolosko.com