LIVERMORE FALLS — Spruce Mountain High School Principal TJ Plourde told school board members Thursday, April 30, during a meeting held via Zoom internet service, that graduation will not be held June 14, but will be held outside at a date to be determined.

“Our biggest push is so we do not lose that (graduation),” he said. “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. 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. I think it will be held down at the Livermore Falls football field, do it somehow outside there.”

Plourde said other recognition pieces planned with staff for students will be held towards the end of the year.

In other business, Board Vice Chairman Michael Morrell said he was the parent of a fifth grade student who was very upset at not being able to go on the ReEnergy field trip. The plant in Livermore Falls creates renewable energy using biomass and other waste residues.

Morrell said ReEnergy has extended an invitation to have fifth and sixth grade students tour the plant next year.

One board member thought that was a great idea.

When asked if the end of year would change, 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-aged 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.

“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.”

Board member Tammy Frost asked if tables at the high school and middle school would need to be replaced to maintain the six foot rule when school hopefully resumes next fall.

Albert said no plans are in place.

“Classes (rooms) are not big enough,” he said. “We’ll see how it plays out. It will be interesting to see. I will talk with other superintendents.”

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