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Schools think 'inside the box' to find additional storage

Built in the 1950's, Longfellow Elementary does not have adequate storage space, posing a challenge to meet physical distancing guidelines for reopening

PORTLAND, Maine — Schools across the state are returning to session, many of which are welcoming students back into the classroom. Among other state-mandated safety guidelines, students must keep 3 to 6 feet apart at all times. To meet that standard inside the classroom posed major challenges for the staff at Portland's Longfellow Elementary School.

"It's an old building with limited space," said Longfellow Elementary School principal Terry Young. 

In order to meet state guidelines for distancing, the staff at Longfellow had to find space for unneeded classroom supplies that were taking up available space for students in the classroom. 

Longfellow found that space with the help of Portland Container Company. This Maine based family business is providing portable storage units for the school to store unneeded items, as well as classroom supplies used for outdoor learning--at a discounted rate. 

"Maine classically has that can-do spirit. So working with schools and figuring out a quick solution that can be deployed the same day feels really good," said Emily Davis, co-founder, and CEO of Portland Container Company.

Staff at Longfellow are now able to arrange classrooms to meet social distancing guidelines by removing unneeded furniture taking up too much space. 

While indoor classrooms will also be used, the school is gearing up for outdoor learning as well. Small classroom spaces have been set up in the field behind the school as well as in the school's garden. 

The first day of school at Longfellow, and Portland Public Schools is Monday, September 14.