Auburn

First day of school: Wednesday, Sept. 1, grades K-9; Thursday, Sept. 2, grades 10-12

Instruction: In-person instruction, five days a week.

Masks: Universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status, is recommended. Masks are required on school buses.

Testing: Students (parents/caregivers) and staff members must conduct self-checks for symptoms prior to boarding buses or entering school buildings each day. Those who are identified as COVID-19 positive must use home isolation/quarantine until they meet criteria for return to school. The district’s Guide to Opening Schools for the coming year does not include any reference to in-school pool testing.

More: In a letter to families, staff and students, Superintendent Cornelia Brown said that because of the unpredictable path of the pandemic, updates will be given to the Auburn School Committee every two weeks. They will include data around positive cases and the number of students and/or staff who have been placed in quarantine because they were identified as a close contact. The district’s goal is to be in school, in-person, full-time, but may adjust that plan as circumstances require.

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FMI:  http://www.auburnschl.edu/

Tara Knight gets a hand Friday from her sons Joseph, left, and Eli while getting her third-grade classroom ready at Walton Elementary School in Auburn. “I am excited about getting back to five days a week and less zooming,” she said. Joseph, 8, and Eli Knight, 5, start school Monday at Durham Community School. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Lewiston:

First day of school: Wednesday, Sept. 1, grades 1-9; Thursday, Sept. 2, grades 10-12.

Instruction: In-person instruction, five days a week. Schools will not offer the choice of remote learning due to insufficient staffing.

Masks: Masks required in all schools during school hours determined by the level of community transmission being moderate, substantial or high. When community transmission is low, community information will be assessed to make a determination on masking requirements. Masks are required on buses.

Testing: Schools will do pool testing and those participating in that testing are not required to quarantine unless they are COVID-19 positive.

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More: The Lewiston School Committee had originally voted to recommend but not require masks, but that decision was reversed Thursday at the recommendation of Superintendent Jake Langlais, who said “if we can do things to mitigate kids being sent home, we should do that.”

FMI: https://www.lewistonpublicschools.org/en-US#0

Lisbon

First day of school: Wednesday, Sept. 1, grades K-9; Thursday, Sept. 2, grades 10-12.

Instruction: In-person instructions, five days a week.

Masks: Masks are required in buildings and on buses.

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Testing: Offering pool testing for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

More: These district guidelines went into effect Aug. 24 and will remain in effect through June 30, 2022, and will be updated with the latest Center for Disease Control and state guidelines regularly, according to Superintendent Richard Green. He defines the guidelines as a live document, which means it will be changing as the safety expectations change. The district will practice regular audits of the procedures to ensure that all systems in place are working efficiently.

FMI: http://www.lisbonschoolsme.org/

Renelle Pollard prepares her kindergarten classroom Friday for the first day of school at Walton Elementary School in Auburn. Pollard has teacher workshops Monday and Tuesday before students arrive Wednesday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

SAD 17: Paris, West Paris, Oxford, Norway, Waterford, Harrison, Hebron and Otisfield

First day of school: Wednesday, Sept. 1.

Instruction: In-person instruction, five days a week. If state guidance issues category yellow, “schools may consider additional precautions and/or hybrid instructional models to reduce the number of people in schools and classrooms at any one time,” according to Superintendent Monica Henson.

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Masks: Required indoors and on buses.

Testing: Pool testing will be used.

More: A COVID-19 response team with senior district administration, school administrators, teacher and nursing representatives and the district’s medical director, pediatrician Dr. Kate Herlihy, meets weekly to review data and statistics and form recommendations. The superintendent holds Q&A sessions using Facebook live on Friday afternoons; after school starts they will (likely) be done monthly.

FMI: http://www.msad17.org/

SAD 52: Turner, Leeds and Greene

First day of school: Wednesday, Sept. 1, grades K-7 and 9; Thursday, Sept. 2, all students.

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Instruction: In-person instruction, five days a week.

Masks: Face coverings will be required indoors and on vans and buses. Superintendent Kimberly Brandt said there will be more outdoor learning and masks breaks. Schools will also attempt to keep students distanced, when possible and space allows.

Leavitt Area High School Principal Eben Shaw told directors there would be four lunch periods a day instead of the usual three to spread students out, as well as the addition of tables outside.

“We’re in a good space and ready to go and looking forward to having students here,” he said.

Testing: The district is also “strongly considering” weekly pooled testing through a statewide program, which could also lessen disruptions to the classroom from required quarantining. Parents must give permission for their child to participate in the program.

More: In a note sent to parents this week, Brandt said she hoped conditions improve enough in the coming year to result in “loosening one or more restrictions.” She said, “We have experience with remote learning should that be required for a short period of time, as when we had school closures due to outbreaks last year.”

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The district is finalizing its “Plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services,” which should be posted to the district website sometime this week at msad52.org. The superintendent said safety protocols, such as masking, will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and informed by Maine Department of Education and Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

FMI: https://www.msad52.org/

• SAD 44: Bethel, Greenwood, Newry and Woodstock

First day of school: Wednesday, Sept. 1

Instruction: In-person instruction, five days a week. There is no option for remote learning.

Masks: Face coverings are recommended, but will not be required. Masks will be required on buses.

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Testing: Voluntary pool testing.

More: The board’s decision to start the year with no mask requirement runs contrary to Superintendent David Murphy’s recommendation to start the school year with masks and slowly unmask, as circumstances allow and based on CDC recommendations.

FMI: https://www.sad44.org/

• SAD 58: Avon, Kingfield, Phillips and Strong.

First day of school: Wednesday, Sept. 1, grades pre-K-9; Thursday, Sept. 2, grades 10-12.

Instruction: In-person instructions, five days a week.

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Masks: Face coverings will be recommended, but will not be required. They will be required on buses.

Testing: The district is seeking guidance regarding pool testing and will work to create a plan, if it is determined to be a way to decrease the number of students and staff who might be required to quarantine as a result of a confirmed positive case in one of the district buildings.

More: According to a letter to parents from Superintendent Todd Sanders, reporting confirmed cases and identifying close contacts, as well as those required to quarantine, will remain an expectation of the district. Any students or staff members who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate/quarantine until they satisfy the criteria for returning to school. The Maine CDC Case investigator will determine the release date from isolation.

FMI: https://www.msad58.org/

RSU 4: Litchfield, Sabattus and Wales

First day of school: Wednesday, Sept. 1, grades K-9; Thursday, Sept. 2, grades pre-K, 10-12 and Lewiston Regional Technical Center.

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Instruction: In-person instruction, five days a week. “Not only is this important for our educators, but it is incredibly important for our students,” according to Superintendent Andrew Carlton.

Masks: Masks are recommended, but not required, in schools with “green” status, or zero to one case per school during a 10-day period. Masks will be required in “yellow” schools that have two to three cases; students will revert to remote learning in “red” schools that have more than three cases.

All students will be required to wear masks on buses.

Testing: Students in “yellow” zone schools can be tested at school after three to five days from the last day of exposure.

FMI: https://www.rsu4.org/en-US

First-grade teachers Dee Cornelison, left, and Gabi Joy chat Friday while getting their classrooms ready at Walton Elementary School in Auburn. Joy said that between prekindergarten being half days and the kindergarten year being hybrid last year, this year will be the first time first-graders will be in the classroom five days a week. “That could be interesting, but we will make the best of it and have a lot of fun along the way,” she said. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

RSU 9: Chesterville, Farmington, Industry, New Sharon, New Vineyard, Starks, Temple, Vienna, Weld and Wilton

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First day of school: Tuesday, Sept. 7, grades K-9; Wednesday, Sept. 8, grades 10-12

Instruction: In-person instruction, five days a week. The district is also offering enrollment in a remote learning option through Western Maine Remote Academy. The enrollment period has passed, but parents can still reach out to the district and see if there are spaces left.

Masks: Masks will be required for all students and staff in all schools, regardless of vaccination status or age. Students or staff with a current documented medical need or an individual education plan that specifically mentions the use of shields rather than masks, will be allowed to wear face shields.

The RSU 9 board of directors will hold special COVID-19 check-ins at the second board meeting of each month, and will revisit all policies depending on COVID-19 data in Franklin County.

Testing: The district will conduct pool testing for staff and students (with parental/guardian approval) who opt to participate. Q&A sessions on pool testing for staff and families will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, Sept. 1, and Thursday, Sept. 2.

More: Superintendent Chris Elkington said the district is not considering vaccination mandates for staff at this time. He also said the district will approach COVID-19 vaccination requirements for students once Maine’s immunization laws have changed

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FMI: https://www.mtbluersd.org/

RSU 10: Buckfield, Hanover, Hartford, Mexico, Roxbury, Rumford and Sumner.

First day of school: Wednesday, Sept. 1, grades K-5 and 9; Thursday, Sept. 2, all students

Instruction: In-person instruction, five days a week. The district purchased seats for 17 students to take virtual online classes through the Western Maine Education Collaborative’s Remote Academy. Students who are participating in remote learning require a recommendation stating they did well in prior remote learning classes.

Masks: Everyone in school buildings will be required to wear masks inside when students are present until at least Oct. 1 when the requirement will be reevaluated. If staff members are not vaccinated, they will be asked to always wear masks.

Testing: Schools will use pooled testing, which will only occur with parental consent.

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More: The district is “hoping with masks and pool testing we will not have large numbers quarantining,” according to Superintendent Deb Alden. Many class sizes in the buildings are smaller this year and/or classes have more teacher support, which has been covered by COVID-19 government funding. The district has hired about 50 new staff members for the school year, she said.

FMI: https://www.rsu10.org/ 

RSU 16: Poland, Minot and Mechanic Falls

First day of school: Wednesday, Sept. 1

Instruction: In-person instruction, five days a week. “That’s where we know where kids do their best work is in our buildings,” Assistant Superintendent Amy Hediger said.

Only medically vulnerable students will have the option of continuing to study remotely.

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Masks: The district is requiring masks for everybody in its three elementary schools, at least until a vaccine is available for young children. If one does get approved, the mask rule will remain in place for 60 days afterward to provide time for students to get fully vaccinated before it is dropped. 

There is no mandated masking for the middle and high school, where nearly all students are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

All students will be required to wear masks on buses. 

Testing: Pool testing.

More: The district is still trying to hire a nurse to keep tabs on COVID-19 issues. If it can’t find one soon, it may hire a well-organized alternative without the same medical training, officials said.

FMI: https://www.rsu16.org/ 

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RSU 56: Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru

First day of school: Wednesday, Sept. 1, grades K-6 and 9; Thursday, Sept. 2, grades 7-8 and 10-12

Instruction: In-person instruction, five days a week.

Masks: The district will following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and masks will be “strongly recommended,” Superintendent Pam Doyen said, but not required. Masks will be required for all children and adults on buses.

Testing: Pool testing, once a week.

More: “Our custodial staff has done an outstanding job preparing our buildings. We are ready to welcome all students back to in-person learning,” Doyon said. Class sizes at Dirigo Elementary School will be smaller than past years and the number of students per classroom has “been addressed to maximize social distancing as much as possible,” she said.

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FMI: https://www.rsu56.org/

RSU 73: Jay, Livermore, Livermore Falls

First day of school: Wednesday, Sept. 1; district will return to single bus run for all schools.

Instruction: in-school instruction, five days a week. A hybrid school calendar has been approved as a future precaution. If necessary, the model used last year would be enacted with students receiving in-person learning two consecutive days, remote learning the other two days and no new learning Friday.

Masks: All students and staff must wear masks while inside school buildings. Masks will also be required while on buses. Masks may be removed while eating and during mask breaks. In case a mask is soiled, students are encouraged to bring an extra mask. A doctor’s note is required to use a shield instead.

Testing: Pool testing will be used in all district schools.

More: According to Superintendent Scott Albert, one outdoor classroom has been approved for the high school using Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds but hasn’t been built yet. Two more outdoor classrooms using ESSER III funds were suggested by Albert to the board. “We are also hoping to get tents for each school,” he said.

Students who did well in the hybrid or remote learning models last year may have the option of attending the Western Maine Education Collaborative Remote Academy. Parents must request participation and obtain school staff approval. So far, 10 of the 40 seats approved by the directors have been filled.

FMI: http://rsu73.org/


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