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Back to school means navigating a whole new world for students and teachers

Learning will be different for students of all ages.

PORTLAND, Maine — We thought it might be interesting to talk with some students who finished out their academic year last year in a rather unprecedented fashion – and are stepping back into a new school year where – still  - there are plenty of unknowns. When Covid hit in mid-March, students and teachers scrambled to figure out how to continue their education while doing so from home. Remote learning became a new phenomenon, and something students and teachers had to adjust to quickly. Now, despite having some time to plan, students are returning to school this Fall, and still, there are plenty of unknowns. 

Maine, local, news, education, back to school, school, freshman

We sat down with students who are taking big steps educationally – entering high school, or heading off to freshman year at college. Amelia Greenlee is just beginning her freshmen year at UMaine in Orono. The first semester for college freshmen can be a difficult time under the best circumstances.  Students are often living on their own for the first time.  They're tasked with managing their schedules, navigating their classes, and making new friends.  This year is much different.  Greenlee explains how classes are working, and the challenges Covid-19 guidelines are creating for meeting classmates.

Students aren't the only ones facing new challenges this year. Sarah Bailey teaches chorus at Greely High School in Cumberland. She says this year she's meeting with students in smaller groups, just once a week. Her chorus classes are moved outside, and students have to be 14-feet-apart. She explains the challenges she's facing and how she and her students are working to make the best of the situation.

Eva and Olivia are sisters getting ready to begin their year in first grade. We backed up a bit and reflected first on what Kindergarten had been like, pre-Covid. 

On Friday the Maine Department of Education released new updates for schools in York county in response to a spike in coronavirus cases there. Schools made last-minute changes to their opening plans. Sanford High School was one of them. They are delaying the start of school by a week. 

We spoke with Mason who will be starting his freshman year with the school's hybrid of in-class learning and remote learning.

The close to one thousand students at Sanford High will have in class instruction only two days a week and the other three they will be remote learning. Students and teachers will no doubt adjust as we navigate the pandemic.