AUBURN — A draft plan for opening schools in the fall includes a blend of in-person and remote instruction, mask-wearing and social distancing.

The plan developed by a committee of more than 20 stakeholders — parents, teachers, community members and medical personnel — will be reviewed by the School Committee on Wednesday night.

Schools have been closed since mid-March to limit the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The full School Committee will consider steps to move a reopening plan forward, according to Superintendent Connie Brown. The meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m. at Auburn Hall.

Chairwoman Karen Mathieu said in a prepared statement that the committee has heard from “a multitude of staff and families” about reopening.

“There is no question that, with safety precautions, a return to in-person instruction is the desired outcome,” she said. “While it might be a hybrid of in-person and remote learning to start, the goal is to return to in-person instruction as soon as possible.”

The plan developed by the Health and Safety Re-entry Steering Committee would require:

• Pupils in prekindergarten through grade two to attend school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

• Students in grades three through 12 to be divided into two groups, one group attending Monday and Tuesday and the other Thursday and Friday.

Remote instruction would be provided days when students are not in school. Schools would be closed Wednesdays to deep-clean the buildings and face coverings will be required, according to Brown.

She said school and city officials are collaborating to “creatively expand” options for students to participate in Recreation Department programs.

The Re-entry Steering Committee looked at the social and emotional needs of students, the academic program and how the curriculum would support students, transportation issues and building needs, Brown wrote in a news release.

The committee was chaired by Assistant Superintendent Michelle McClellan who said the foremost concern was for the safety and well-being of students and staff.

“I am humbled by the incredible work that has been done during the past three months by a group of very dedicated people,” McClellan said.

The Maine Department of Education on Friday released a list of health and safety precautions for school districts, including symptom screening, physical distancing, face covering and hand washing.

Being able to implement these measures should be a factor in reopening, according to the guidelines, but the decision of whether to reopen will be made by local school districts.

The DOE will post county by county COVID-19 risk levels beginning July 31.

Counties will be designated as green, yellow or red based on the risk, with red being high-risk. In-person instruction should not be conducted in red-coded counties, according to the DOE. However, the designations will be advisory and districts can adopt their own policies.

The state’s guidelines will be subject to ongoing development and will evolve as information and guidance is provided on the pandemic, according to the DOE website.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: