Portland School Board chooses hybrid option to begin Fall Semester

Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 6:10 AM EDT
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PORTLAND, Maine (WMTW) - Portland’s school board voted unanimously Wednesday night to approve a hybrid return to learning in the fall.

The vote came after a second consecutive night of lengthy discussion, which included hours of passionate and varied public input.

Some urged the school board to allow in-person learning for all high schoolers while others raised concerns over the safety of any form of reopening.

Several school board members spoke at length before voting, describing how difficult of a decision this was.

Superintendent Xavier Botana recommended the hybrid plan with a delayed start to the school year of Sept. 14 so schools can adequately prepare safety measures.

Under the plan, the district will stagger the number of students who can attend school in person, depending on grade level.

For grades pre-K through five, half of the students would attend school in-person two days a week and learn remotely the other three days.

Superintendent Botana recommends a full return to in-person learning for those grades by Oct. 13.

Grades six through eight would attend school twice a week and learn remotely the other three days, at least through the first trimester.

Ninth graders will have in-person learning twice a week and remote learning the other three days.

High school students grades 10 through 12 would continue to learn remotely and have access to in-person support services.

All students and staff will be required to wear face coverings, socially distance in school and undergo daily symptom checks before arriving at school.

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