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Bangor school and city leaders respond to state’s announcement on school this fall

One of the biggest messages they shared was how critical it is to keep up with safe practices.
Bangor officials talk back to school
Bangor officials talk back to school
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 10:41 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Bangor school and city leaders responded Friday to getting the green light for school this fall.

One of the biggest messages they shared was how critical it is to keep up with safe practices.

They say it’s also important to talk to kids about how to stay safe, like lots of hand washing, distancing, and wearing masks.

Superintendent Betsy Webb says she knows this will be a challenge for many.

She wants parents to know students will be given breaks from wearing face coverings.

Webb says this will need to be a collaborative effort among students, staff, and parents.

“Our teachers are phenomenal. They’re going to start training from day one. We do ask families to start that experience right now so that you become familiar and comfortable,” she says.

“We know this just different. The experiences I had as a teenager in Bangor in 1997 is nothing what it’s going to look like for our kids today except that our community is still going to be there for each other,” says Bangor City Councilor Clare Davitt.

Webb says with guidance from medical experts, Bangor schools will reopen and will offer three pathways for students.

The majority of students will be attending class in-person.

Some will be learning remotely and at school.

Others will be learning remotely 100 % of the school year.

”It is critically important that Bangor schools reopen, and we know this will be helpful to our families, to our community, and to our businesses,” says Webb.

Webb says when it comes to safety, they'll be using universal screening, distancing, face mask wearing, cleaning protocols, and more.

She says all employees will be going through extensive training, some of which has already begun.

Bangor's public health director says flexibility is critical in the coming months.

She encourages parents to start getting kids used to wearing masks and practicing other ways to stay safe.

This will also be important for child care in the community.

The parks and rec director says they’ve developed strong partnerships and protocols since day one of the pandemic.

Now that they know schools will be opening, he says they’ll be working on a plan for the school year.

”So all of us in the child care world in the community are prepared to react and are here to assist the school department as they go through the reopening process and I, again, am thankful for the resources we have here in the community to ensure kids have a safe place to go,” says Tracy Willette, Bangor Parks and Recreation Director.

Willette says child care and summer camps have been available in Bangor since the beginning of the pandemic.

He says they’ll continue to implement and utilize their sanitizing and distancing protocols.

They’ll be ready to support parents and the schools and move forward as the school year begins.

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