MAINE, USA — In June, the Office of Maine Catholic Schools announced students would be heading back to school for in-person learning this fall with a full, five-days-a-week schedule. On Monday, the complete reopening plan was released.
Schools overseen by the Office of Maine Catholic Schools are All Saints School (St. John Campus/St. Mary Campus) in Bangor, Holy Cross School in South Portland, St. Brigid School in Portland, Saint Dominic Academy in Auburn and Lewiston, St. James School in Biddeford, St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick, St. Michael School in Augusta, and St. Thomas School in Sanford.
Maine Catholic Schools Superintendent Marianne Pelletier says a virtual learning option will be provided for families who are not yet comfortable with sending their kids back for in-person learning.
In a letter to members of the Catholic Schools community, Pelletier said, “We recognize that there may be some families who may not feel comfortable sending their children to school for any in-person learning experiences in any configuration this upcoming year.”
Read the Maine Catholic Schools reopening plan here:
“Please know we understand that some family situations may have a greater cause for concern than others,” she continued. “As such, the Diocese of Portland is assisting each of our schools to develop a virtual, remote learning option where interested families will still be able to receive instruction for children in core content areas while remaining connected to their local school community. We ask that you contact your principal should you want to continue with remote learning for the next school year.”
Pelletier explains all classrooms and facilities have been and will continue to be modified with the latest CDC guidelines.
“Additional cleaning supplies will be available and extra staff has been hired to help ensure that our health protocols and processes keep school environments as healthy and safe as possible for students and staff alike,” Pelletier said.
On Friday, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) updated its Framework for Returning to Class Instruction and classified all 16 Maine counties as having a relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread. All counties were classified as “green,” meaning schools can consider in-person instruction with required health and safety measures.
Here's how the classifications work:
- Green: relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread. Schools can consider in-person instruction with required health and safety measures.
- Yellow: elevated risk of COVID-19 spread. Schools should consider hybrid instructional models to try to limit the number of people in classrooms at the same time.
- Red: high risk of COVID-19 spread. In-person instruction is not advised.
The DOE framework is guidance for schools, and each school district may opt for their own plan for reopening.