JAY — Regional School Unit 73 directors approved a return-to-school plan Thursday but scheduled a public forum prior to voting on what model will be used.

The forum, followed by a special school board meeting, will be at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Spruce Mountain Middle School cafeteria. If numbers dictate it, the meetings will be moved to the middle school gym to meet the governor’s social distancing requirements.

Director Doug DiPasquale wasn’t sure if parents were aware of the suggested plan and models. He asked for the public’s input.

“We’re acting on a document not made available to the public. This is not typically how we operate. Is there a way we can get this to those attending digitally on Zoom? They have no plan to look at,” Director Michael Morrell said.

The RSU 73 framework for returning to school 2020 had been shared earlier with the directors. Morrell created a Google document, made it available to those attending the meeting, held via Zoom videoconferencing and in the middle school cafeteria.

At one point, 98 people were signed in to the meeting. Some of those were directors and RSU 73 staff.

Director Joel Pike asked for clarification between the plan and the model.

The plan has a bunch of different models the state requires districts to have, Albert answered.

At the last RSU 73 directors’ meeting, three options for learning this fall were shared: return to in-person instruction, continue remote instruction or use a hybrid, some mix of the two.

On July 31, the state approved in-person learning for all 16 counties, provided proper safety requirements could be met.

RSU 73 will not be able to implement all Department of Education and Centers for Disease Control social distancing requirements and recommendations so a hybrid model will be needed.

“I have concerns, two pages of notes myself. There are a lot of finite details. Having an idea of what those would be needs to be part of the plan,” Pike said.

Another family survey is being sent out tomorrow. It is also available on the RSU 73 website. Families that don’t respond by Aug. 11 will be contacted by telephone to obtain the information, Albert said.

“Without having a forum, the public involved, we can’t make an informed decision,” DiPasquale said.

“We can’t kick this soccer ball very far down the road. We need some direction. There is so much to do,” middle school teacher and return to School Committee member Rob Taylor said.

“I trust the people who have put the plan together. They have worked damned hard,” Director Andrew Sylvester said.

“Some things are mandated. The CDC requires 3 feet social distancing, 6 feet when eating, wearing masks all day. Those won’t change. It’s why the plan is what it is,” Taylor said.

The vote was 8-6 in favor of approving the plan.

Director Lynn Ouellette was the only one not in favor of tabling the model decision.


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