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Charter Public, independent schools dealing with unique challenges during the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic

Maine Arts Academy in Sidney is trying to find ways to teach its arts education virtually. John Bapst in Bangor has 40 international still students on campus
Credit: NCM

BANGOR, Maine — For Maine schools, the transition to online learning came a few challenges. Providing students with internet, and making sure students who needed meals were fed were some of the biggest.

Charter Public Schools and private or independent schools are dealing with their own challenges during this pandemic. At the Maine Arts Academy in Sidney, the online learning curve wasn't an issue.

“Our transition to virtual learning was seamless," Head of School Heather King said. “The arts have been a little more of a challenge, I would say that’s where the challenge lies most.” 

Students at MAA used online teaching methods such as Google Hangouts throughout the school year so making the jump to 'home school' wasn't even as close to a challenge as a dance class, choir, or piano lessons.

Credit: NCM

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The school serves 63 towns in Maine and is free to attend for all students. Students do not need any prior experience in the arts to attend. 

King said that teachers have gone the extra mile during these unusual times to help their students. Music teachers made sure students had access to instruments either on an app or the real thing, and dance teachers made sure students are still working on their moves from home.

Some schools have thrown away the 'normal grading structure' for this semester, but not at MAA. Students are still attending a full day of class, from home of course.

“We’re hoping that providing business as usual really allows students to wake up and have their regular normalcy that they had all along," King added.

John Bapst in Bangor is also dealing with unique challenges. For the school to operate it needs students, and their tuition.

Credit: NCM

David Armistead is the Associate Head of School. He said that the deadline for applications for next fall was in February so he is expecting a full house for the next school year.

“We’re very optimistic that we’re still going to meet our enrollment goals," Armistead added.

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The high school also has 80 international students, about 14% of the school's population. Half of them have gone home while the other half remain on campus following the governor's stay healthy-at-home order.

If Armistead's students can't return for the first day of classes in the fall, it won't be an issue.

“If a student is going to come late because they’re going to be quarantined before coming to classes we’ll be ready for that," he added.

Maine Arts Academy is currently in open enrollment. To request more information, or a campus tour you can contact Heather King at hking@maineartsacademy.org.

Lives Through Arts and Academics Experience the difference at our free public charter school located in Sidney, ME Lay the foundation for a bright future at our arts school in Sidney, ME Maine Arts Academy is a public arts school located in Sidney, ME.

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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