FARMINGTON — School officials in Franklin County say that learning will not be affected following the governor’s announcement downgrading the county to a designation of  “yellow” from a low-risk, “green” category in connection to COVID-19 cases under the state education Health Advisory System.

But it does put after-school activities and sports for elementary and secondary schools on hold, and in some cases tightens up accessibility to school buildings.

School systems are already operating under hybrid education learning models with students divided into different groups to attend school on different days and work remotely on others.

“Under the ‘yellow’ designation, which indicates an increased — moderate — level of community risk, schools may consider additional precautions such as limiting numbers of people in school buildings at the same time, suspending extracurricular or co-curricular activities including competitions between schools, limiting interaction through cohorting, or other measures based on the unique needs of each school community,” according to the advisory system.

“Educationally there is no change for us because we are already doing a Hybrid model,” Scott Albert, superintendent of Regional School Unit 73 in Jay, said in an email. “For sports and other activities we will cancel until further notice. We will re-evaluate moving forward for those activities.”

Intramural football is on hold.


The district’s hybrid model is a group of students in so-called Cohort A attend school Mondays and Tuesdays, Cohort B attends Wednesdays and Thursdays, all students learn remotely on Fridays.  Cohort C which is 20 to 25% of our population is fully remote, Albert said.

The district serves residents of Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls. The Spruce Mountain high, middle and elementary schools are in Jay and the primary school is in Livermore.

Tina Meserve, superintendent of Regional School Unit 9, said it won’t change too much for the district. They already are working under a hybrid education model where half the kids go to school and the other half go the other times. Students are also learning remotely.

The capacity of children on the school buses are very small, she said.

There will not be any after school activities. They are on pause, she said. The last practices were already set to end on Nov. 13.

The district already has visitors by appointments only, even parents, Meserve said. The district is concentrating on teaching and learning, she said.


RSU 9 serves students in the towns of Chesterville, Farmington, Industry, New Sharon, New Vineyard, Starks, Temple, Vienna, Weld and Wilton.

The fact that Maine School Administrative District 58, which serves Avon, Kingfield, Phillips and Strong, “was already implementing a School Board approved ‘Yellow’ Hybrid Model of instruction means that the change in color identification will not impact our current pathways of delivery of instruction,” Superintendent Todd Sanders said in an email.

“Similarly, the recent increase in the requirements of masks adherence by the Governor in communities does not impact the plans and procedures that schools currently have in place. This would obviously relate most closely to mask breaks and students eating lunch at schools,” he wrote.

“With the change to a Yellow identification we will reduce, to an even higher degree, the accessibility to our buildings by outside groups, individuals and agencies,” he said.

The focus of use will be MSAD 58 academic related activities as part of the hybrid model of instruction.

“We will continue to place a high emphasis on the frequent cleaning of all M.S.A.D. #58 facilities and transportation vehicles. We also strongly encourage that students and family members practice the use of personal protection equipment (PPE), social distancing, and proper personal hygiene not only when on M.S.A.D. #58 property but also in our communities,” Sanders wrote.


MSAD 58 had been participating in modified schedules of several fall interscholastic athletics, adhering to guidelines presented by several state agencies.

“We concluded our fall participation last week,” Sanders said. “We will be waiting on anticipated guidance regarding winter athletics. Once we have that information it will be shared with the School Board for consideration.”

“It is safe to say that anybody who works or has worked in education has never faced the challenges, stresses, and uncertainty that we all currently do today,” he said. “We will continue to keep the safety and well-being of students and staff at the forefront of any and all decisions we make while guaranteeing students their right to a high quality education.”

The state’s Health Advisory System classifies counties’ relative risk of COVID-19 transmission by color and is provided to assist schools as they continue with their plans to deliver instruction and support students safely this fall.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services and Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention assessed the data and trends for all counties. Based on this assessment, Knox and Franklin counties are now categorized as yellow, joining Somerset and Washington counties, which were designated yellow last week. Waldo, which was moved to a yellow designation on Oct. 23, will return to green, but remain closely monitored, along with Kennebec County. All other counties remain green.

Oxford County was designated as a “yellow” classification on Sept. 25 due to increased COVID positivity cases. Students athletes in that county could not practice or play sports. It returned to a low-risk, “green” designation on Oct. 9.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story