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Knox County state rep calls to close schools

By Stephen Betts | Mar 14, 2020

A Knox County legislator called for all public and private schools to close immediately.

Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, an independent of Friendship, issued a statement Saturday, March 14, in response to the growing threat from the new coronavirus COVID-19.

"The idea that we as a society are cancelling all these adult activities while allowing our children to attend schools on Monday is beyond absurd, it's plainly dangerous," Evangelos stated in the news release. "COVID-19 is mutating and while experts say children are less vulnerable at the moment, they are most definitely carriers, which will then expose entire staffs and communities to the spread of this disease. In addition, this virus could easily mutate and begin an aggressive attack against our children. Allowing individual school districts to  make this call just adds to the absurdity. It's time for leaders to lead, if our local schools aren't smart enough to close, then parents should go on strike and keep their kids home."

School leaders have said they are following the recommendations of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Maine Department of Education.

The Maine Legislature announced Friday that it would meet Tuesday, March 17, and deal with virus-related bills and then adjourn. The Maine court system is canceling civil and jury trials and grand jury sessions until May 1.

The University of Maine college system and Bowdoin College also decided earlier this week to conduct the remainder of the academic year by online, requiring students to vacate dormitories.

The high school spring sports season has been delayed from starting and many after-school activities and statewide performances such as drama and music events have been canceled.

Regional School Unit 13 -- that covers Rockland, Thomaston, Cushing, Owls Head, and South Thomaston -- will have an early release day for students Monday, March 16, and the afternoon will be for staff to make plans for continuing students' education in the event of a prolonged shutdown.

“We must work together for the common good and adopt the same approach Franklin Roosevelt did in the 1930s when confronted by crisis and emulate our parent's response when confronted by polio in the 1950s,” Evangelos said in the release. “Unfortunately, neither major political party seems to have an FDR on the horizon, it's a real cause for worry. This is a real crisis and people need to take it seriously.”

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Comments (5)
Posted by: Jay Feyler | Mar 15, 2020 12:28

Over the years Jeff and I have been on both sides of an issue, many times!  Folks this is not a scare tactic, this is not a knee jerk reaction, the facts and science are telling us we are weeks away from major outbreaks.  Yes, many of us will contract this regardless, but if we can mitigate all of us at once, we can save lives.

Our children are precious, we need to protect them.  Our school board representatives should have be working on this all weekend, just like most of my colleagues in municipal government have been doing.

Is this overkill?  I hope so!  But the science is telling us otherwise.  Do the right thing, get our kids out of the mass gatherings.

Posted by: John Snow | Mar 15, 2020 08:26

Dear Loring,

Please take note that with your head in the sand, you present an easy target for someone's knee jerk.

Posted by: Loring E Proctor JR | Mar 15, 2020 08:18

Wow knew jerk reactions say to be liberals

Posted by: Heidi Ruth Locke | Mar 15, 2020 07:51

I second that, Barry Douglas Morse! It is very irresponsible to allow mass amounts of students and staff to congregate in a closed door school! All the major ski areas are now closed and that is an outdoor sport!

Come on, wake up John McDonald, do the right thing!

Posted by: Barry Douglas Morse | Mar 14, 2020 23:45

I hope Evangelos' call is heeded - by schools, libraries, and theaters.

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