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Back to School: RSU 25 planning for fall return

Superintendent says they've been working on plan for months.
Back to school planning
Back to school planning(WABI)
Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 4:12 PM EDT
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BUCKSPORT, Maine (WABI) - School officials continue to work on plans for re-opening amid a pandemic.

This after the state released a three-tier system last week on whether students should go back to class or continue learning remotely.

TV5 spoke with RSU 25′s superintendent Monday in Bucksport.

“It’s an amazing task,” said RSU 25 Superintendent Jim Boothby . “It’s so complex when you look at the different levels of what we have to address.”

Boothby says they’ve been working on this plan to bring kids back to school since the spring when the year ended with remote learning.

“We just started targeting different segments of the plan breaking it down into manageable pieces and jump in and start planning piece by piece by piece.”

With so many pieces, some of the first decisions centered around spacing.

“We’ve actually had the opportunity to design our own table dividers, so in addition to wearing masks the kids are going to be separated by some physical barriers,” he explained.

Food service will change, too.

“We already determined we won’t be serving in the cafeterias,” said Boothby. “We’ll be serving the students in their rooms and in general areas because we need to provide spacing while they are eating. So, we’ve got to provide space but it will not be in the cafeteria.”

In addition to figuring out busing, what's allowed and what's available - there are questions about teachers and children.

“Who specifically is coming back for staff and who specifically is coming back for students,” wondered Boothby. “How many students will be here in person, how many students are going to access their education remotely. And finalizing that delivery.”

Cleaning schedules, additional staffing needs. RSU 25, like every other district in the state still has work to be done. They all await the Education Department’s announcement on red, yellow or green classifications - which is expected on July 31st.

The colors indicate which districts could safely return to in-person learning and which ones should plan to keep kids home.

Until then they continue to chip away,

“The plan is never going to be the final plan,” said Boothby. “That’s one of the things we have to accept here is that the plan will be adaptive based on situation.”

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