MAINE, USA — Hybrid learning gets students back in the classroom, while also keeping everyone distanced and safe. Many of the state's school districts are adopting this model.
Superintendents around the state have been working on back to school plans since before the Maine Department of Education's color-coded designations went out.
"For parents, it feels like a long wait. For us we're not waiting on anything we've been working day and night it's almost the only thing we've done this summer," Tina Meserve, Mt. Blue Superintendent said.
All sixteen counties have been given the green light to re-open schools in-person learning. Now each school district is making its own plan. Most have students going to school two days a week and learning from home the other three days. One day a week there will be now students in many districts. Serving as a 'flex day' for teachers to get work done while students can still learn online.
Families can choose an all-online option in many districts. School leaders say this is helpful.
"If we have 10% fewer students sitting in our classes it makes it easier to keep the distances," Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana said. He said about 11% of families in his district have chosen this option.
According to Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew, there will be distance and masks requirements but children don't have to be six feet apart.
"You can have children three feet apart rather than six feet apart but those children need to stay six feet apart from adults," Lambrew said in a press conference last Friday.
While going back to school is scary for some parents and teachers, school leaders say it's important to think about other factors.
"If you're focused on physical safety and everybody has to stay home then that's not great for social emotional health," Gregg Palmer, superintendent in Brewer said.
Many schools are releasing plans for the coming school year in the coming weeks.