AUBURN — The Auburn School Committee voted Wednesday evening to postpone the start of school until Sept. 14.

Superintendent Cornelia Brown said the reason behind the postponement was threefold: to make improvements to Edward Little High School’s ventilation system, to give time for the Maine Department of Education to ship personal protective equipment to the school department, and to give the department more time to figure out transportation.

Brown said that Maine didn’t announce its COVID-19 Relief Funding until the first of August, so she and the department “didn’t know we’d be able to make significant improvements to ventilation at the high school until a week and a half ago.”

She said that Auburn ordered personal protective equipment from the Maine Department of Education and has “yet to receive any.”

“We’ve reached out to others about it, but we’re still waiting on some very sizable deliveries, and very few have arrived yet,” Brown said.

Brown said that the department still needs to figure out transportation routes and how to ensure the safety of students on buses.

“We wish we could’ve anticipated these things six weeks ago, but we couldn’t,” Brown said to the audience.

The Wednesday meeting was attended by a group of teachers and parents who had earlier demonstrated outside Auburn Hall, asking the board to put in place a hybrid learning model rather than the 4-day return-to-school plan the board approved Aug. 5.

The Auburn School Committee’s vote comes on the heels of Lewiston voting on Monday to postpone its start date to Sept. 14.

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