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Maine Education Commissioner provides update as students return to classrooms

More Maine students are returning to the classroom. Their schools are set up much different from when they left half a year ago.

AUGUSTA, Maine — As students return to school, we're hearing from the Maine Department of Education commissioner about how the start of the year has been going for schools statewide.

It seems for the most part in Maine students have been able to return to the classroom, some for more days a week than others.

Many districts are also utilizing a hybrid model of both in-person and online instruction.

We asked the Department of Education Commissioner, Pender Makin, about whether students will be allowed to switch to only learning from home if need be.

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"In many school districts, many schools are offering fully remote options. Not all are able to or have the capacity to offer fully remote in addition as an option. However if they, for medical reasons, must not be in a school setting then they would certainly have the opportunity to learn remotely," she said.

We also asked the Commissioner about what the department of education is doing to help guide schools in addressing helping students with mental health concerns, as the pandemic has been a stressful time for many.

"Yes that's a huge concern for all of us and we have developed over the last several months a Maine specific social-emotional learning curriculum that will be open source and available online within the next week or so and that is a K-12 curriculum that educators could be using or families at home. It's fully open to anybody," she said.

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Going forward in the months ahead, the Maine Department of Education will be working closely with superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, and students to monitor the situation and make sure students and staff feel safe.