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Camden area schools reopening plan may be decided August 5

By Susan Mustapich | Jul 31, 2020

A special joint meeting of the Camden-Rockport and Five Town school boards set for Aug. 5 has a single agenda item, possible approval of the school reopening plan.

The virtual meeting takes place at 5 p.m.

These school districts have sent two surveys to parents of K-12 students asking for feedback on in-school instruction and remote learning for the fall and a detailed Five Town CSD/MSAD 28 2020-21 School Year Plan.

Responses from the first survey, from mid-July, showed parent preference for in-school learning across all grades. It also showed a strong preference for remote learning from parents of children in grades 5-12, who do not plan on sending them back to school in the fall or are not sure. Remote learning is not available in grades K-4. The majority of parents who responded to the survey, with students in those grades, are not in favor of adding remote learning as an option.

The detailed 2020-21 school year plan provides three variations that are required by the state to be part of a reopening plan, each contingent on local health indicators.

While following state guidelines, this local plan leaves options open for families.

One scenario outlined in the report is to return as many students back to their schools as possible, with a parent option to choose remote learning only for their children.

This scenario is based on the current state of COVID-19 in the community.

Local health data, as of July 22, shows Maine as one of three states in the country where cases are decreasing. Data also shows a low hospitalization rate and the lowest rate of virus reproduction in the country, according to the draft plan.

A second scenario combines in-school learning with remote learning, with the two alternating on a regular schedule. This scenario reduces the number of students in the schools at any one time.

A third scenario is remote schooling only. School districts in Maine are required to plan for this option in case school closures are again required.

Across the three scenarios, all schools will have plans for students with disabilities and English learners. In-person education will be prioritized for these students.

Extensive safety precautions accompany scenarios one and two, including mask wearing, social distancing, outdoor air intake in ventilation systems, cleaning, limited access of non-essential persons inside school buildings and more.

To watch the remote meeting live Wednesday, August 5, at 5 p.m., use the link https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/81675391305.

Questions from the public during the meeting can be asked by emailing Assistant Superintendent Deb McIntyre at Debra.McIntyre@fivetowns.net

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