PARIS — With only about 80 students at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School opting for remote learning in the coming school year administrators have been forced to institute a hybrid plan to comply with Maine Department of Education and Maine Center for Disease Control mandates for reopening.

There are about 1,000 high school students at OHCHS. The school can accommodate a maximum of 550 students plus teachers and other staff according to state restrictions.

The SAD 17 School Board is expected to approve a request from administrators to delay the start of school until Sept 8 at its next meeting on Aug. 17 as they finalize a hybrid attendance program for OHCHS.

SAD 17 Superintendent Rick Colpitts said that the hybrid plan will allow special education students — those in life skills and day treatment programs — to be in school everyday for one-on-one contact with educators. Oxford Hills Technical School students will also be able to attend in-school classes on a daily basis.

“All other students will attend the school in rotations of either two or three days a week,” said Colpitts. “We will be able to provide services to special education students according to the requirements of their individual IEPs. For the technical school, smaller class sizes are within social distancing requirements and some classes take place outside anyway.”

Students of Oxford Middle School and all the elementary schools in the district’s eight communities will be able to attend in-school programs on a daily basis if they have registered for it. About 20% of K-8 students have signed up for remote education.

“I can speak for everyone who works in SAD 17 in that we wish things were different,” said Colpitts. “We want all children in school every day. But we are limited to the guidelines set by Maine DOE.

“The mandates from the state change on a weekly basis. In the event that restrictions can be eased SAD 17 will be ready to immediately revert to in-school education.”

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