Dear Portland Public Schools staff and families,
I am writing to let you know that, as of this point, we plan to reopen our schools on Monday morning, Oct. 30, with everyone following their normal schedules.
As you know, we canceled school Thursday and Friday in an abundance of caution as police search for the person responsible for the terrible violence in Lewiston. The closures were also due to other considerations, such as a potential shortage of staff caused by other districts and city closures.
While police activities related to the Lewiston violence are still ongoing as of this point, Portland Police have stated that there is no elevated safety concern for Portland and that it is safe for us to return to regular operations. Other Cumberland County school districts are also planning to reopen Monday, and we don’t expect staffing to be an issue.
School operations will resume as normal. However, as an added precaution, police will have regular patrols outside our buildings. On our part, schools will reinforce that everyone will be vigilant about adhering to our regular safety precautions, such as making sure that all exterior doors are closed and locked.
When our schools reopen Monday, our school staff are prepared to support students. This support will start with all students in morning meetings or their advisories. School counselors and social workers will be available to support those requiring additional assistance.
As we return, I want to share four related updates:
- Police have assured us that it will be safe to return to school Monday. That said, if families have specific concerns, they should connect with their child's school and their child's absence would be excused at this time.
- SMAA has canceled all sports competitions for this weekend.
- In future closures, if you want to receive emergency and other PPS communications by text through SchoolMessenger, please know that it is an opt-in process. To sign up, please go to this link.
- For families experiencing food insecurity, Wayside, a PPS partner organization, has an online list of food pantries and soup kitchens: https://www.waysidemaine.org/community-resources
Thank you to everyone in the Portland Public Schools community for your patience and understanding as we work to make the best decisions to keep everyone safe while returning to our key mission of teaching and learning.
Unless something changes, you will not hear from me over the weekend and Monday will be a regular school day. Please continue to take care of yourselves, your families and one another.
Ryan Scallon, Superintendent