LEWISTON — The number of Lewiston Middle School staff members with COVID-19 has continued to rise this week, Superintendent Jake Langlais advised Wednesday.

Only one of at least 19 positive staff members will be able to return from quarantine of Friday, leaving the middle school too short-staffed to bring students back to the classroom. Students and staff will continue to be remote Friday; there will be no school on Thursday in recognition of Veterans Day.

Although students are supposed to be completing coursework online this week, a number of students have been unable to access Google Classroom. Langlais said the problem stems from an error with the district’s program, which filters inappropriate content on school devices.

According to his latest report on the situation, the district’s technology team was able to resolve the issue for some, but not all, students. Parents were able to swap their laptops at the middle school Wednesday, and will be able to do the same Friday between noon and 3 p.m.

In a message to the school community Wednesday, Lewiston Middle School Principal Ty Thurlow acknowledged the technical problems.

“We know that remote learning is not ideal, and that this week has been very difficult because of issues with devices and access to Google workspaces on those devices,” he said.

Jessica Lovejoy said her son who attends Lewiston Middle School has been unable to access Google Classroom or PowerSchool, and can only check emails on his phone.

“I think the hardest part of everything for parents is the inconsistency,” she said. “Especially for a mom with two kiddos both having (individualized education programs). My son is smart beyond his years . . . With his hands! Meaning, he can’t sit at a computer to learn. He’s trying to maintain passing grades. He’s truly at this moment not getting an education.”

All students at Lewiston Middle School have been learning remotely since Monday, and half of the school was remote on Friday

Thurlow said school administration will continue to monitor staffing levels and will provide updates to the community as they are able.

“Additional updates regarding in-person vs. remote learning will be made as quickly as we can,” Thurlow said. “Our goal is to return to in-person learning as soon as we can safely do so. Thank you for your understanding and patience.”

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