The Telstar high school and middle school complex on Route 26 in Bethel will reopen to staff and students Sept. 9. Samuel Wheeler/Bethel Citizen

BETHEL — Directors of School Administrative District voted 12-3 Monday to reopen schools and voted unanimously to delay the start to Wednesday, Sept. 9.

The state requires schools to have three plans: in-school instruction, remote instruction and a combination of the two.

Superintendent Dave Murphy said he expects a survey to be sent to parents soon asking what option they prefer.

“Once we get a sense of how many people are going to be remote learning and how many people are going to be coming to school, we will be able to go in and look at the classrooms and set them up,” he said.

The state announced last week that students older than 5 will be required to wear a mask in school and on buses.

Murphy said he plans to share advice, along with articles and videos to parents on how they can help their children adjust to the new rules.

The district, which includes Bethel, Greenwood, Newry and Greenwood, will receive about 945 N95 masks and nearly 2,500 disposable masks from the state. They also bought an additional 2,500 masks to ensure an adequate supply.

The district will also receive disposable gowns and gloves for its nurse and certified nursing assistant.

Murphy said the district is looking at adding another person to the nursing staff before the start of the year.

The superintendent is also waiting for additional guidance from the state regarding how students will appropriately social distance on buses.

In a survey by SAD 44, about 60% of parents said they planned to transport their children.

Murphy said he does not anticipate having issues with classroom setup, but the district has many desks in storage that can be used in classrooms in place of tables. He said an additional 40 to 50 desks were bought from St. John’s school in Rumford.

The superintendent said he has been sending instant alert messages to families with important information for the upcoming school year. He said parents who are not on instant alert, but want to be, can contact the district to get directions.

In other news, new board members Wendy Coffin of Woodstock, Maggie Davis if Bethel and Stephanie Herbeck of Bethel were officially introduced at the meeting.

The meeting, held via Zoom, had an estimated 70 people present.

The next board meeting is Monday, Aug. 24.


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