Reopening on May 20, 2020


Dear Families,
I write to you to announce that after great consideration, we have decided L’Ecole Française du Maine will be reopening on May 20, 2020, with very strict conditions and procedures in place. We are extremely fortunate at this time in history to be a part of a small school. There is definitely safety in small numbers and EFDM provides just that environment. Our school does not face the challenges of many larger schools and we can adjust more easily to this situation.
We recognize with the state reopening many of you must return to work and we know you depend on us for childcare. As a licensed childcare center, we are considered essential services and are allowed to reopen. We have decided to offer you this option to have your children return to school – with strict conditions, which are outlined below in this letter.
If you personally feel you are not comfortable with having your child return to school at this time, we certainly understand. Of course, the safest thing for us all is to remain at home. To accommodate families who choose for their child to continue to stay at home, we are going to continue offering the Zoom lessons as another option for the remainder of the school year. The Zoom sessions the teachers have provided these past weeks have been great, and we commend them for their creativity and flexibility with such short notice during this crisis. If you wish to continue with this method, it will still be available although some modifications will be made.
We assure you we will do everything possible to first and foremost safeguard the health of our students, staff, and the greater community. We feel confident that with strict precautions and procedures, we are able to welcome the children back to school, but we will be depending on the cooperation of families in following our reopening guidelines and procedures. The following practices are aligned with the Maine CDC guidelines for childcare facilities. Here is how we will be functioning:

Pick up and drop off procedures
  • Parents must wear a mask and will not enter the building
  • Parents will walk their child to the base of the ramp at the glass entryway to the school and wait there for their child to be admitted
  • Parents will remain at a minimum of 6 feet from any other family while awaiting their turn to drop off
  • Parents will be given a questionnaire that must be filled out at home and submitted each morning assuring the child’s good health
  • A staff member will take the child’s temperature before he/she enters, and the children will go directly to their classrooms.
  • At pick up, parents will wait at the bottom of the ramp, keeping a safe distance from one another. Once your child is transferred to you, we ask you to go directly to your vehicle.
  • Whenever possible, it is best if the same parent picks up and drops off. Also, we ask that older family members who are at greater risk do not drop off/pick up children if possible (such as grandparents).

During the school day
  • The children will be kept in their classroom groups and groups will not mix during the school day
  • Student desks will be set apart as much as possible
  • Each class will have separate recess zones and recess times will be spread out
  • Lunch will be eaten outside with social distancing in place unless raining. If raining, children will eat at their own desk in the classroom.
  • Children will be washing hands frequently and hand sanitizer will be in each classroom.
  • Water fountains will not be used- please send a water bottle and make sure it goes home for cleaning each day
  • Classroom windows will be open as much as possible, weather permitting.
  • Children are asked to wear a mask. If you cannot provide one, we will have some available. Please let us know if you need us to provide a mask so we can plan accordingly.
  • Staff will wear a mask
  • School hours will be from 8:30-3:30, please pick up between 3:00 and 3:30
  • Aftercare will be available until 5:30, please let us know if you require this service by emailing Emily at

School Cleaning and Maintenance
  • Desks will be washed at mid-day and at the end of each day, at a minimum.
  • Door handles, and frequently touched surfaces will be disinfected regularly
  • Professional cleaning of school each evening
  • Bathroom touch-ups throughout the school day
  • Playground equipment hand grip areas will be wiped down daily
  • Request: If you can donate any cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, or paper products such as paper towels/ toilet paper, we would gratefully accept! Merci beaucoup!

Enhanced Health Screening and Expectations
  • Children should continue social distancing when not at school!
  • Children may not attend with any fever or ailments/symptoms of any kind (runny nose, coughing, fever, headache, stomach ache…)
  • If a child, or a family member of a child, comes in contact with someone with COVID-19, the student must quarantine for 14 days and test negative before returning to school. The same applies to staff.
  • If a child becomes ill or displays symptoms at school he/she will be isolated and the family will be immediately contacted to come and pick up the child.
  • Any staff member feeling ill will stay home or return home if he/she becomes ill at work.

Other programming- Enrichment Activity Considerations
  • We will not be having certain activities, such as singing, that have been determined to be risky; YMCA swim program, Music Together, field trips, etc.
  • Physical education activities will not involve any physical contact between children
  • Private tutoring and music lessons may resume with social distancing in place, to be determined by the individual private instructors.

L’Ecole Française du Maine is planning to fully reopen again in the fall and hopefully, things will be even better by that time. If not, we will adapt accordingly and are actively planning scenarios for different levels of mitigation and taking into account the ever-evolving considerations and information about the COVID-19 virus.
In coming to the decision to reopen, we have benefitted from a worldwide perspective.  I have been attending regular meetings with Heads of School and other educational leaders worldwide, thanks to our affiliation with professional organizations such as The French Ministry of Education, AEFE, The Mission Laïque Française, and The Maine Department of Education. The experiences of schools in France, Germany, and Canada that have already reopened have provided a wealth of practical information in our decision-making and in shaping the safest practices possible for moving forward. Through these conversations, it has become evident how fortunate we are to be located in a rural setting, in a single floor building with large windows and multiple entries and a vast playground. Thanks to these advantageous conditions of our physical space and the low population density of the school and Maine, we are already better positioned than many schools, public or private anywhere, can hope to be.
In our final preparation for this transition, the school is currently undergoing a deep cleaning, inside and out. The teachers have also requested that there be no Zoom classes on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 as they finalize their preparations for the arrival of the students. Once you have considered these school options and made a decision about how you would like to proceed, please email Emily at with your intentions so we can plan accordingly. Finally, we are considering remaining open for childcare over the summer. If this option would interest you, please email Emily. Based on the level of interest, a decision will be made whether we offer summer day camps/summer childcare.
These last few weeks of school in session will certainly help us to prepare even further for the upcoming year, and we look forward to seeing you all again.

Best regards,

Willy LeBihan, Founder and Head of School