December 10, 2020

This newsletter again lists the current travel policy for those looking to plan their Winter Break, coming up December 21-Jan 1 with school resuming on Monday, January 4th. Please familiarize yourself with our current protocols in place, and be prepared to note any updates that may come in the weeks ahead. Some revisions have been made, so please read carefully.

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'll be sharing their masterpieces within the next few newsletters! This week: GS & CP, Victorien's class!

A limited number of spots are still available for our Ice Arena Friday event on Dec. 18th! Sign-up via the link below for an opportunity put together by our own Sadie Pressman to have a little fun and kick off the winter break.

As always, please reach out to Emily in the office with any questions:
Winter Break Travel Policy
We would like all families to be reminded of our Community Pledge.

Traveling increases risk, and it is strongly recommended that holiday celebrations take place within your immediate family household this year.

Holiday Celebrations and Travel
  • The CDC continues to strongly recommend that we avoid holiday travel this year
  • The CDC also strongly recommends that we all stay within our households, i.e. the people we currently live with.

School Policy to Return After Holidays:

  • Families and staff who avoid travel and stay within pods may return to 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)

**There is no way to confirm that people we encounter during travel or outside our households in holiday gatherings do not have the virus, so we have to err on the side of caution - finding out after a return to school is too risky and could seriously threaten our entire community.

As an example, looking ahead at the upcoming break and a timeline to return safely on January 4, we have:

-December 26 - last day of travel/mixing
-December 31 - get PCR test
-January 2 or 3 - receive result
-January 4 - return to school

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.

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.
An early winter alternative to "Sugarloaf Friday"...
One of our most beloved EFDM winter traditions, Sugarloaf Fridays, may be difficult to coordinate for non-season pass holders this winter due to current restrictions at the mountain. In hopes of also offering something a bit more close to home, EFDM is excited to welcome all ages of current students and their families to join us for...
Take the afternoon off from the classroom the day before winter break and spend it with members of just our school community. Group size is limited to 46 people in the building, so sign-up while space is available! Minimum size for event to run is 25.

With special thanks to our aftercare and floater teacher, Sadie Pressman (also Director of skating at Troubh) ice and rentals for anyone from our current EFDM community will be available for $25 per family!

Friday December 18th, the ice at Troubh Arena in Portland is ours from 12-2:20pm. If you are interested in this small event, you can opt to pick-up your student(s) from school around 11:30am to head to the rink. A wonderful way to begin the winter break!

COVID protocols at the arena are as paramount as at school: masks at all times (even in the parking lot), designated distancing throughout the building, a screening survey, and proper hand hygiene will be expected from all attendees. The arena thoroughly cleans their rentals and spaces between each and every use. When else will you get the chance this winter to have the ice limited to a small group of only those already within your "bubble"? If interest allows, we will plan for more Ice Arena Fridays as the winter progresses!

Please sign up with your interest for attending this event by following this link:

or emailing Emily ASAP!
Holiday Travel Guidelines
Le livre des peurs!
With each child illustrating and reciting a page from a popular class book, we present to you the virtual "performance" of the CP/GS class! Merci beaucoup Victorien et bravo les enfants!
EFDM Community Support - Please help !
Those within our school who reside nearby may have heard of the tragic house fire that took the home of a newly enrolled EFDM family last week. Neighbors of this family have come together to "raise funds to help with their short-term needs and to show them that their community supports them in their hour of need." Although all family members were able to flee the fire unharmed, EFDM extends our condolences for all that was irreplacibly lost in this horrible accident.
If you would like to assist in donating,
please follow this go-fund-me link to do so.

This family is also looking for a furnished home to rent, preferably in Freeport or nearby. If you have any leads, please email Emily and we will pass along the information. Surely any other donations would also be appreciated, such as boys' clothing (for ages 3 and 5), toys, boots...if you have anything to share, please send a list to Emily and we will pass it along to the family. Merci beaucoup!
Freeport Community Services Holiday Help!
Some of you may recall our assistance in Freeport Community Service's Holiday Helpline last year, where we "adopted" a family of seven and donated enough holiday gifts to fill a few trunks! This year, FCS has had a surplus of folks looking to give back to their community, so they've been forced to get a little creative. L'Ecole Française du Maine will be a drop-off location for your donated local small business gift cards this year, to be included within surprise care packages for families on the Holiday Helpline. A win-win for local shops and those in our community! Please read below for more information, and feel free to drop-off your donated gift cards to Emily anytime before Tuesday Dec. 15th!
EFDM's Annual Appeal 2020 is Underway
Our Annual Appeal for 2020 is now underway. We recently sent out a Special Edition Newsletter asking for your support.

If you have already given- thank you!!

Each year we ask our friends to consider contributing L'Ecole Française du Maine in their charitable giving. Your contribution can support the Mission of the School in many ways, like direct program support, building and facility improvements, or to provide financial aid to students in need of assistance.
Updates from the Classrooms
PS students are learning vocabulary for all of the winter essentials necessary to have the most fun outside these days!
MS/GS students are hard at work on a myriad of winter projects, and are loving their new classroom station-- les voitures!
GS/CP created a few bonhommes de neige from tissue paper pieces... needless to say it did seem to have snowed indoors after this activity ;)
The Apple Cider Vinegar project of the CP/CE1 class is finally ready! The students learned so much about all the stages required to make such a staple.
CE2, CM1, & CM2 students are busy designing the "pages" of their read aloud winter story project-- soon to be another presented virtual performance via an upcoming newsletter!
Race, Ethnicity, Nationality and Jellybeans
Suggested activity to do with your child:

This video addresses complex notions with Jellybeans and offers a visual explanation of the terms "race," "ethnicity", and "nationality."
While all of the jellybeans may be red and look identical, there are different flavors in the pile, like cherry and cinnamon, representing the term ethnicity. It really takes the very complex ideas of race, ethnicity, and nationality and breaks them down into a simple to comprehend way, which is perfect for kids!

Watch the video and try to answer these questions:
  • How is race different from ethnicity?
  • What is your ethnicity? Nationality/nationalities?
  • Who are your closest friends, and what is the racial mix of that group?
  • What are the last books you've read and the last movies you've watched? What is the racial mix of the characters, authors, actors, and directors?
Calendar Updates & Reminders : December
Calendar Updates from December:
December 18: Ice Arena Friday! Pick-up from school at 11:30 for skating 12-2:20pm.
December 21- January 1: Winter Holiday Break, NO SCHOOL
UPDATED Daily Self-Check
Thank you for continuing to perform the daily check before coming to school. Below is the most recently updated screening survey recommended by the Maine DHHS.

Communication with the school is paramount; if you have any uncertainties regarding the checklist questions or anything that cannot be answered negatively, you must call or email the school office as soon as possible.
Updates and clarification: Allergy List
As a reminder and clarification with lunchtime having moved indoors to each classroom, please find an updated allergy list for your student's grade. We are a tree-nut free facility (with peanuts and almonds specifically ok)

PS: Dasha's classroom
  • No tree nuts (peanuts and almond, ok)
  • Refrain from sending snacks/food with sunflower oil/sunflower seeds

MS/GS: Marie's classroom
  • No tree nuts (peanuts and almond, ok)

GS/1: Victorien's classroom
  • No tree nuts (peanuts and almond, ok)
  • Refrain from sending snacks/meals with any fish

Cp/CE1: Elodie's classroom
  • No tree nuts (peanuts and almond, ok)

CE2, CM1, CM2: Simon's classroom
  • No tree nuts (peanuts and almond, ok)

There are allergies to peanuts, chickpeas, lentils, green peas, sesame seed within our school community but the threats are ingestion rather than exposure. That being said, please be aware of these allergies and remind your children that especially these days, sharing food is prohibited at school.
Donation Supply Wishlist
Thanks to all for providing a great supply of special cleaning products to kick off our school year! We have paper towels and hand sanitizer to enter the winter season but could use more of the following wishlist products if you happen to come across any while doing your weekly shopping:

  • glue sticks
  • Disinfectant wipes, any brand!
  • Disinfectant spray cleaner

Merci beaucoup for keeping these items in mind and for your generous donations!

Window in the past ... just for fun
September 2003, L'Ecole Française du Maine Teaching Staff, from left to right: Catherine Ung, Chiharu Naruse, Mathilde Hivert, Hortense Mimbang, Elizabeth and Willy LeBihan: 6 teachers from 5 different countries!