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Portland's board of education unanimously approves back to school hybrid model

The hybrid model delays the first day of school to Sept. 14.

PORTLAND, Maine — As districts across the state announce their plans for returning to school, Maine's largest city has made a decision on their back to school plan.

Portland's board of education voted Wednesday night on their proposed hybrid model plan. The board unanimously approved it.

Like many schools that have already announced plans, Portland is considering a hybrid model. 

As part of the hybrid model, most students would be placed into two groups, attending in-person classes on opposite days. Elementary school students in group A would attend in-person classes on Monday and Thursday. Elementary students in group B would attend in-person classes Tuesday and Friday. 

No classes will be held on Wednesday. According to the proposed plan, that day would be used for teacher preparation, student outreach, and review. 

If elementary school students and staff are successful in adjusting the required health and safety guidelines, students could potentially return to school in-person full-time on October 13.

The plan will work similarly for middle school students in the district. Students would be placed into two groups, with group A learning in-person Monday and Thursday, while group B would learn in-person Tuesday and Friday. Like elementary school, no course instruction will take place on Wednesdays. 

High school students in Portland Public Schools will operate on a slightly different model as part of the proposed plan. Freshmen will be placed in groups, attending in-person classes on opposite days similar to middle and elementary school students. High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors will attend classes remotely four days per week, with no official classes held Wednesday. In-person and virtual office hours will also be available for these students. 

"There is an intent to continue to reassess not just our designation from the state, as a county, but the local data here in Portland," Portland Board of Education Chair Roberto Rodriguez said. "And certainly if we start to see the transmission of infection within our school district, that would also impact how we progress or plans to bring more people back to the building." 


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