Will Maine parents opt for private schools for their children?

All Maine Catholic schools returning full time.
Catholic schools back in Maine
Catholic schools back in Maine(WABI)
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 4:37 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Many public schools are considering a combination approach to bringing students back into the classroom this fall. The hybrid model offers in-class instruction and remote learning.

Maine Catholic Schools, though, say they’re skipping that model and bringing students back to class full time, with a virtual option as a back up. Could that lead more parents to opt to send their children to private school?

“We’re getting a lot of people from our neighboring school districts, a lot of parents calling saying like we really feel like they didn’t learn and grow with the hybrid model or the distance learning model and we don’t want them to fall further behind this year so they are coming to All Saints,” said Matthew Houghton, the principal at All Saints Catholic School in Bangor.

They have decided to return to class full time.

“We can go five days a week because we have the class sizes, square footage,” he explained. “We can safely distance 3 to 6 feet between desks. We also have exit doors on all of our classrooms. We have 18 acres of land. We don’t use busing. We aren’t doing a cafeteria. Kids are going to eat in their group, their pod. So we have low numbers that will enable us to open five days a week for school days Monday through Friday.”

Class sizes will be capped at 16, with one class per grade.

They’ve already begun the protocols that will be followed this school year with a Pre-K class that’s running now.

“6 to 9 checks to make sure that they are COVID free,” he said. “They have to initial. The parents aren’t allowed in the building. So we bring the students into the classroom and off we go for the day. Kids are wearing masks in the classroom right now and that’s very different.”

Houghton says the parents he has spoken with have said they want their kids back in the classroom.

“Given the small numbers in the safety precautions we have parents so excited to get the kids back because the kids need the socialization,” he told TV5. “Parents are saying our kids are feeling a lot of anxiety. They are not developing socially or emotionally. So, I think the cost benefit of kids getting back is very important right now.”

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