Ready to Reopen—Our Plan for Fall 2020

The safety and wellbeing of students and staff is always our top priority. 

Welcome to Thornton Academy! We look forward to the start of the 2020-2021 school year and are pleased to share the plan we’ve established to keep our community as safe and healthy as possible. The strategies we’ve developed in preparation for several possible learning scenarios are in accordance with the State of Maine’s Framework for Returning to Classroom Instruction, which provides a roadmap to follow as we consider reintegrating back to in-person classroom instruction. As always, all decisions are being made in alignment with the most up-to-date directives and guidance from the Maine CDC, Department of Education, and Office of the Governor. Below you will find helpful information about our reopening plans, as well as a list of frequently asked questions. 

Please note that this page and our FAQs will be updated in the coming weeks based upon any new guidance or safety requirements from the Maine CDC and Department of Education.

Reopening FAQs

TECHNOLOGY

ACADEMICS

HEALTH & SAFETY

OPERATIONAL ADJUSTMENTS

Thornton Academy's current risk designation is: YELLOW/HYBRID 
(Next update: Friday, September 25th.)

According to the Maine CDC:
•Counties assigned a green designation have a relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread and schools may consider in-person instruction, as long as they are able to implement the required health and safety measures. Schools may need to use hybrid instruction models if there is insufficient capacity or other factors.
•Categorization as yellow suggests that the county has an elevated risk of spread and schools may consider a hybrid model as a way to reduce the number of students together at any one time.
•A red designation suggests that the county has a high risk of spread and in-person instruction is not advisable.

Did you know? 

Maine is ranked the #1 safest state in the country by U.S. News. The CDC also lists Maine as a state  with one of the the lowest occurrences of COVID-19 in the nation. 

Useful Links

What do our teachers say about online learning?

student using an iPad in Engineering class

I already post daily to class websites and Google Classroom for each of my classes so a jump to teaching from out of school won't be too difficult from the tech side. We're very lucky that the school administration and Technology Department have supported the teachers for years. We laid the groundwork to be able to pull this off years ago.

john raby, history teacher

teacher with a laptop in class

Google Classroom has already been an invaluable tool for me to share materials, lectures, activities and differentiation with my students - I have been using it for a few years now and it is easy to use with tools familiar to our kids. They see daily agendas, links to assignments, and a calendar with due dates - and, occasionally, a crazy cat video. Students can ask me questions directly on an assignment in a private comment or they can email me directly through the Classroom. We can also have group conservations through Google Questions and students can post to our wall if they want to share something with the whole class.  If you want to see updates about your child as a parent or guardian, you can email your child’s teacher and receive a Google Classroom subscription newsletter. With Google Classroom, we build our classroom community - and will be able to maintain that community with remote learning.

barbara barklow, english teacher

student poses with an iPad

In my classroom, technology is already omnipresent. Students access and submit homework through Google classroom. Students also use iBooks I've created with written and significant video content. In addition, technology allows my students to access the newest science taking place around the world through online journal articles and curricular resources that are not outdated. While I prefer face to face class meetings, the iPad program allows every student to engage with their studies as we have trained all year long, with only minor adjustments to the delivery of the material.   

dan frost, science teacher

teacher working on a laptop

In my classes, all workflow is through Google Classroom. Students download and modify PDFs of documents in Notability, collaborate on documents using Google Docs and Google Slides, and log into lectures using Nearpod. While this usually occurs in class, it makes the transition to online learning seamless. I encourage students to contact me using email and Google Hangouts for any questions or problems, ever.

jason cote, history teacher

student using an ipad

Making the transition to remote learning is something I felt really comfortable with as a teacher who uses technology in the classroom a lot already. And as the only German teacher, I've had to get creative with remote learning and technology use before. (Finding a German-speaking sub can be difficult!) Prepping video lessons, teaching live remotely, and giving assessments online are all things I've done before, and things I do in my classes already on a smaller scale. The difference now is that instead of only me being away from school, everyone is away from school and in their own space, which presents new challenges. So far, the students' comfort with using technology in my classes has been a huge help, but coordinating schedules and working out bugs will take some time. I'm happy everyone is being so flexible, banding together, and seeing this as an opportunity to learn and grow. I couldn't imagine trying to pull this off without our 1-to-1 iPad program.

Adrianne Curtis, German teacher

summer view of the main building