LEWISTON — A remote instructional plan, including laptop handouts Tuesday at the high and middle schools, is in place for local students.

Remote learning programs eventually will be available to all students and Wi-Fi hot spots will be set up on buses parked where access is needed, Superintendent Todd Finn said Monday night.

“Our intention is to make sure all of our children have some continuance of learning,” he said during a School Committee meeting held remotely.

This won’t be ideal, he said, but it’s a way to strike a balance between best practices and making do.

Schools statewide will remain closed until at least April 27 as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread. The closure began March 16 and parents have become frustrated with trying to school their children, Finn said.

A remote learning program for elementary school pupils is in the works, Chief Academic Officer Karen Paquette said.

“We are getting licenses secured and training for administrators,” she said, for a program that will “put kids on a path that matches where they are. It’s very user-friendly.”

All students eventually will have access to programs that will let them work at their own pace and choose courses that interest them.

“We are working on making sure we are 100% plugged in, that we have a full tech rollout when it is safe and healthy to do so,” Finn said.

Access to the programs will be on the Lewiston Public Schools website. Look for a big pencil graphic.

The practice work will not be graded and no credits will be earned, Finn said.

The Maine Department of Education has waived the mandate for the minimum number of student instruction days for as long as schools are closed.

The Lewiston district has not distributed worksheets or instructional packets because of the risk of spreading the infection.

Its mission was to first make sure children were safe and healthy and well-fed, Finn said.

He said volunteers distributed 6,000 meals around the city Monday. Equity is an issue in Lewiston, where more than 64% of students are economically disadvantaged.

Finn wants to make remote learning as equitable as possible.

“We are going to go together and not leave anybody behind. That means we will do our very best to navigate through a delicate balance between equity and making the best of a poor situation,” Finn said.

In addition to remote learning, teachers will check in with students twice a week, Paquette said.

That includes special education teachers who will check in with students about how they are meeting the goals of their individual education plans.

“We need to find a balance between checking in with kids and making sure we are meeting their social and emotional needs and being mindful of safety,” Paquette said.

She said service providers such as speech therapists and physical therapists are putting together resources for students.

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