AUBURN — Four-day attendance will not be offered at Edward Little High School this fall because it would reduce the number of higher-level courses such as Advanced Placement and put people at risk.

The School Committee voted unanimously late Wednesday night to offer only a two-day in class/three-day remote hybrid and a fully remote option at the high school.

Principal Scott Annear said offering AP and dual-credit college courses to two tracks simultaneously would “substantially” reduce the number of classes students could take.

That would affect their college plans, he said. “And that does not seem just to me.”

Another reason for the change is the feasibility of social distancing, he said. If all students and staff are in the building, it would not be possible to keep 1,100 “big bodies” far enough apart.

Maine Department of Education guidelines call for keeping high school students 6 feet apart.

With the two-three hybrid split, classes can be limited to half the usual size, Annear said.

“We needed to make sure we were not putting anyone at risk with this airborne virus,” he said. “A heightened level of safety needs to be in place.”

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

Annear’s proposal to the committee was based on a balance of keeping everyone safe and offering higher-level courses, he said.

“We need to provide the most meaningful and effective instruction possible,” he said.

Committee member Pam Hart noted that new Superintendent Connie Brown has been tasked with improving test scores.

“It would be counterproductive to take away AP classes,” Hart said.

Elementary and middle school students will still be offered the four-day in-school option, as well as two-day or fully remote.

Brown said principals at those schools are looking at how to accommodate the DOE guidelines, which she described earlier in the meeting as “squishy” and “shifting sands.”

Vague advice such as “’do this if you can, if it’s feasible’ is not very helpful to an administrator,” she said.

Assistant Superintendent Michelle McClellan said administrators received one set of guidelines Aug. 12 and another set Aug. 13.

Guidelines include, for example, keeping elementary school pupils “3 to 6 feet apart. What does that mean?” McClellan said.

She told the committee, “What you’re wrestling with is totally understandable.”

For the first 2½ hours of Wednesday’s meeting, the committee heard from more than three dozen parents and teachers who objected to the board’s three-track school reopening plan.

They were vehement in their belief that opening schools four days a week would not be safe for students or staff.

Committee Chairwoman Karen Mathieu said later in the meeting that she had received “numerous communications on this polarizing issue.”

She added, “I know there is opposition to the plan. If the plan fails to meet any mandates, the School Committee needs to be informed.”

She thanked those who addressed the committee with concerns.

“We have heard you, but at the same time we have guidelines and mandates and shifting sands,” she said.

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