Teachers prepare for return to classroom education

Friday announcement declared all Maine counties good to return to school.
Return to in class learning
Return to in class learning(WJHG)
Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 4:33 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The President of the Maine Education Association is reacting to the state’s decision to clear the way for every county in the state to pursue in-classroom instruction. The green classification unveiled last Friday means that as long as safety protocols are followed, students can go back to school.

“I was surprised at that and I think a number of educators were as well,” said Grace Leavitt, who was a Spanish teacher at Greeley High School, before becoming the President of the MEA.

With about a month to go before schools resume, she says there is still uncertainty swirling around what things will be like inside a classroom.

“Great amount of anxiety about is this going to be safe for educators and students and people in the community,” she said. “So, there are worries there. There’s still just an enormous amount of stress and anxiety about all of this. As there is for really everybody.”

She added, “If there is a good thing in any of this it is that people have had time now to plan for those different scenarios whereas back in March everyone was just thrown into it.”

The Mills Administration is currently distributing 165 Million dollars to districts across the state - with another 165 to follow.. This will be for added costs like PPE and additional staffing.

“That helps a lot,” said Leavitt. “It was about half of what was estimated to be needed. So the rest of that funding is needed too.”

She says for teacher delivering an in-classroom lesson while also monitoring face coverings and proper spacing - will be daunting a task.

“Daunting is a really good word. Absolutely we have to be sure that the community is helping with this as well. Because it really is a community issue to be making sure were keeping our community safe. That families are helping to reinforce that message to students. Absolutely, it is yet another task if you will that all of the staff will have to be very mindful of and have that will always be something they are monitoring.”

With planning well underway to come back - Leavitt says that in the end it will be all about what’s most safe.

“First and foremost is safety, but that includes both students and adults,” said Leavitt. “Again our communities, we will get through this there is an end to this at some point. So, we will get through this but meanwhile we’ve got to keep people safe.”

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