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Principal delivers morning announcements, including pledge via Facebook live during coronavirus, COVID-19 school closure

19 buses in RSU 19 are delivering 2200 meals, breakfast and lunch daily, as well as school work to students without internet during the coronavirus, COVID-19 crisis

NEWPORT, Maine — In an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, school districts across Maine have closed their buildings and turned to remote learning.

That's not as simple as it sounds. 

Many schools didn't have alternative forms of education at their fingertips. 

Despite the challenges remote learning presents, school leaders and staff have been working tirelessly to meet the needs of their students.

While it may not be a typical school day, Mary Nadeau, the principal of Nokomis Regional High School in Newport still delivers the morning announcements.  

"I thought it might be kind of a nice way to keep a sense of routine or connection to Nokomis" Nadeau said.

 At 8:45 every morning you can see her on Facebook Live. 

She makes school announcements, gives updates, reads a trivia question for school credit--she also observes a moment of silence and recites the pledge of allegiance.

"I thought it might be kinda corny but I've gotten some good feedback. I think i'll continue to do it."   

Nadeau says the biggest challenge of remote learning, during a pandemic, is staying connected with students.

"Our school serves about 600 students from 8 towns in central rural Maine."

RSU 19, covers more than 300 square miles. With many students having limited or no internet access.

"Good internet isn't available or they just don't have it so it's challenging to feel that connectivity we have as a school community." 

Nadeau says the school was able to get some hot spots out to a few homes to increase connectivity. 

For students without internet or Facebook, Nadeau emails her videos to them. She, along with other school staff, also make sure those students have printed school work, their teachers prepare for them.

Social Distancing Video

"Myself, the office staff, some of the department chairs, we are able to spread out, get them printed, organized and it's going out on the school buses daily."

There are 19 school buses delivering not only homework but breakfast and lunch and sometimes care packages to student's homes.

"Food service and bus drivers are really our heroes right now just delivering 2200 meals a day to people in our community. We're just trying to keep people afloat during this tough time"

Nadeau says people throughout the school district are going above and beyond to try to keep some sense of normalcy during an unprecedented time.

"I want people to know school is still going on and our students are still doing some great things in working hard to continue their own learning and I think it's important to celebrate that."

Nadeau is also showing her school spirit by wearing Nokomis swag on her daily Facebook lives.

"I challenged myself to wear something different every day. I've got quite a bit but this closure can't go on to much longer or i'm going to have to start doubling up" Nadeau laughed.

Then, as she does in her Facebook Lives, she ended the interview with a proud "GO WARRIORS!"

NEWS CENTER Maine was able to talk with the Department of Education late Tuesday afternoon and learned the department is working hard to get internet access to kids in Maine who don't have it. 

They're doing that in a number ways. They are talking to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), to providers and carriers about offering free devices and access. 

NEWS CENTER Maine also learned that 500 wi-fi enabled tablets will be going to students in Piscataquis County-- that county has been identified as having the highest number of students who are not connected. 

The tablets which should be delivered to the students very soon....were donated by T-Mobile and cost of the service will be picked up by the state.

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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