AUBURN — Educators will be reentering local schools on Monday and they’re going about the process with care and caution. 

School staff, exploring ideas on how to best serve students over the summer and into the fall, are well prepared for their June 8-12 meetings. They’ve got the gloves. They’ve got the masks, the cleansers, the hand sanitizers and the thermometers. 

School leaders have established strict guidelines for how staff will conduct themselves as they enter buildings together for the first time since the COVID-19 crisis led to widespread disarray. 

“This has been an unusual year,” said Assistant Superintendent Michelle McClellan, “no doubt about it.” 

A health and safety committee, made up of teachers, parents, health officials, program directors and administrators, has researched how other schools have been handling reentry both nationally and internationally. They’ve consulted with the Department of Education, the Center for Disease Contral, medical experts and others to come up with a game plan aimed at keeping everybody safe. 

“Following the protocols shows respect for coworkers by maintaining hygiene standards, which helps to limit the chances of anyone contracting COVID-19,” according to a school committee handout. 


Among the rules set for staff day next week: No family members are allowed to join the educators during the meetings, the number of people allowed even in the largest spaces will be limited to 50 and staff members will be required to complete a “preentry checklist.” 

The checklist features a range of questions for anyone entering the schools. Do you have a cough or sore throat? Do you have a fever or shortness of breath? Have you been around anyone exhibiting these symptoms within the last 14 days? 

Staff members are encouraged to take their own temperature before joining the meetings and anyone who cannot complete the checklist will be asked to stay at home. 

School officials consider it all a sort of trial run as they begin to ponder how things will look at the start of the new school year. 

“This has really allowed us to, in a contained way, to trial run our thinking on bigger steps in reentry,” McClellan said. 

At its Zoom meeting Wednesday night, the committee also went over updates on how students are being educated over the summer. 


Sue Dorris, principal of East Auburn Community School, reported that everything at the elementary level is being done remotely.  

“We do have plans to support our students from a distance,” she said. 

Books have been ordered for student summer reading, she said, and should start going out this week.  

Auburn Middle School has plans in place to keep its students receiving instructions. The physical education teacher has set up with Zoom to hopefully keep the kids exercising and active. 

At the high school level, educators are focusing on making sure students have the courses and credits to keep them on track for graduation. 

Todd Sampson, Edward Little High School athletic director, said beginning July 6 school sport coaches have the option of having one-on-one meetings with student athletes. 


“What that will look like is undecided at this point,” Sampson said. “We’ll lean on the Maine Principals Association Sports Medicine Committee who will kind of give us some guidelines.” 

Social distancing will be enforced, Sampson said. Equipment will be disinfected. The plan is to safely ease coaches and athletes back into the their respective sports. 

“Hopefully that’s going to give our coaches and our students some opportunity to come back and just be with their friends again and to get outside and get some mental, emotional, physical health back.” 

Track athletes are scheduled to be back on school tracks on June 15. As coaches prepare for that, Sampson said the rest of the school will be waiting to see how it goes. 

“We’re going to learn a lot from them as far as what went well and what they might have wanted to improve on,” Sampson said. “We’ll be watching them closely.” 


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