Superintendent Dan Higgins sent out a letter to parents and guardians of Ellsworth students on Wednesday, March 18th.

Provision of Academic and Learning Materials
Our staff has done an incredible job preparing materials to be provided to students to support remote and distance learning over the next two-week period. This morning we finalized procedures by which these materials will be provided or made available to our students and families. Depending upon which school students attend, including our Adult Education program, dissemination of materials will be accomplished through the USPS mail delivery to families at their homes (EHS and HCTC, and Adult Education,) a structured and staggered pick-up system consistent with social distancing protocols at EEMS, and a mechanism by which families who are not able to receive materials consistent with our plans may make other arrangements. Building Administrators Cathy Lewis and Erica Gabbianelli at EEMS, Dan Clifford at EHS, and Amy Boles at HCTC will be providing more specific details tomorrow. Adult Education Director Annie Sargent has already posted information on this topic on the Adult Education website.
Provision of Food and Access to Food
This morning, I participated in a conference call with Walter Beasley, Director of the MDOE School Lunch Program to discuss details on the Ellsworth School Department’s participation in the State School Lunch program that will support our efforts to provide access to food for our students. While eligibility was expanded, there are specific details that have to be addressed before we can formally access that program. While we work through those details, Food Service Director Ray Daily and staff members have been actively working to secure and provide food consistent to what is provided to families through the Backpack Program. These efforts are not connected to the MDOE School Lunch Program. The current plan is to begin delivery of food (much of it received through donations), adhering to social distancing protocols, to the homes of families, based on identified needs as a primary factor and extending to other families as our food supply permits starting next Wednesday. (I will follow up on the food supply issue below.) Based on a needs assessment provided by school personnel, staff has already made deliveries of food to several families. Today, Mr. Daily and staff contacted families by phone to identify students and families in need of support prior to the scheduled start of deliveries next Wednesday. Of the families who are expressed an immediate need, we will be making deliveries tomorrow and Friday.

With regard to food supplies for this effort, I am heartened (but not at all surprised) by the number of businesses and families who have contacted us offering to help in the effort to provide food for families. We informed them that we will be providing information on the types of food needed and a mechanism by which we can receive donations consistent with social distancing practices as soon as possible. We will be disseminating this information through our regular communication channels, local media partners who have reached out to offer their assistance, and other modes as identified.
Consistent with the numerous generous offers to provide donations and support our students and community, two local restaurants also have stepped forth to provide meals for students.

Provender Kitchen + Bar and Helen’s Restaurant are making bag lunches available to support ESD students during the school closure. We truly appreciate the generosity of Daron Goldstein, Owner and Chef at Provender and Melanie Omlor-Fox, owner of Helen’s in making this opportunity available during these most difficult and challenging times.
Provender Kitchen + Bar is offering the following bag lunch options:
• Peanut Butter and Jelly or Grilled Cheese sandwich
• Chips
• Yogurt
• Apple
Those interested in obtaining a bag lunch from Provender are asked to call or message 610-1480 to place an order for pick-up.
Helen’s Restaurant is offering the following menu:
• Choice of Ham or Turkey sandwich
• Chips
• Fruit or applesauce
• Cookie

Those interested in obtaining a bag lunch from Helen's please call 667-2433 between the hours of 12:00 and 7:00 p.m. to place an order for pick up the following day.
Please call or message ahead as requested. Both owners have proper social distancing practices established.
Please also note that we do not yet know whether the mandated closure of dine-in restaurants issued by Governor Mills’ for a 14-day period issued this afternoon will prohibit this opportunity. Whether it does or not, we are most appreciative of the support and generosity of both establishments and owners.