The Class of 2019 at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay is led into the gum for graduation ceremonies in June 2019. This year, commencement exercises will be held outdoors at a date to be determined. Livermore Falls Advertiser file photo

LIVERMORE FALLS — Spruce Mountain High School Principal TJ Plourde told school board members Thursday that a graduation has not been set but it will be held outdoors.

It’s been postponed from June 14, he said, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ll keep working dates with the state to try to have that, a real graduation, all the way up to the first week of August,” he said. “I think it’s very important for our students, seniors to be recognized in a good way.

“It’s definitely not going to be inside,” he said. “I think it will be held down at the Livermore Falls football field, do it somehow outside there.”

Plourde said staff are planning recognitions for all students toward the end of the school year.

Superintendent Scott Albert said the last day of school is still June 15 for students and June 17 for teachers.

“I don’t want to change that,” he said. “Taxpayers have paid for us to have a full school year. Everyone’s trying their best. We are seeing some children drop off, but I think we owe it to our taxpayers to offer the full amount of time. We can also run into some issues with contracts if we cut things short.”

Schools have been closed since March 16 because Gov. Janet Mills issued stay-at-home order to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Since then, teachers have been teaching remotely. Earlier this month the state commissioner of education recommended maintaining remote learning for the rest of the school year.

Albert said he is working from home one day a week to help his daughter with her schoolwork and give his wife a break.

“I truly feel for everyone going through this with school-age children,” he said. “I can’t imagine what it would be like if both parents have to be working. The work and expectation and stress that people are under.”

Albert said he has meetings with area superintendents via Zoom internet service.

“Everybody in the area is in the same boat,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out how to move forward. We’re just waiting for information from the governor, commissioner of education.”

Albert said some things will be brought to the board for consideration, such as the first days back next fall.

“Will kids be kept in the same grade as now for the first few days for a transition?” he asked. “What will the first month look like? Will there be concentration on certain subjects, not worry about other things?”

Albert said students will be held harmless when it comes to grading and promotion. There has been some drop in participation, he said.

“We understand each household’s circumstances are different,” he said. “All we’re asking is that everybody do the best that they can. So long as a good faith effort is given, students can only be helped by doing the work.

“We could probably get more participation if we had accountability but the damage would be irreparable,” the superintendent said. “It’s not worth it to hold kids accountable for things they can’t control. It’s not their fault.”

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