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Portland school leaders lay out return-to-school plans, including universal mask wearing

Last week the U.S. CDC recommended universal masking in schools across the country.

PORTLAND, Maine — Some parents in Portland are concerned about school leaders' push to require masks for students and staff this upcoming school year.

The Portland Board of Education held its first in-person meeting in months Tuesday night to talk about the district's plan to get kids back to the classroom safely.

"Let them see faces, let them understand language, let them see how people are speaking to them," parent Stacy Hang said. 

Hang was one of just a few members of the public were in attendance as Superintendent Xavier Botana laid out the plans for masking, distancing and pool testing. 

RELATED: Lewiston school committee votes to make masks optional for students, staff this fall

Last week the U.S. CDC recommended universal masking in schools across the country.

Botana said Tuesday students and staff will be required to be masked on school buses and indoors, but not outside. He also noted that remote learning will be extremely limited.

"None of these layers by itself is a fail safe. It's the cumulative effect of having all of them that gives us a high degree of security," Botana said. "And that's what the pool testing is, is another way for us to be able to keep our students and staff safe."

The board did not vote on the proposed plan. That is expected to happen at a meeting on Oct. 17.