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Maine doctors, school administrators discuss what upcoming school year could look like

The panel recommended mask-wearing and other measures while also keeping kids in school.
They recommended masks, but also in-person learning.
They recommended masks, but also in-person learning.(WABI)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 9:22 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Maine health experts and school officials gathered in an online panel Thursday discussing what school could look like for children this year.

Doctors and administration both acknowledged the need for a layered approach to prepare for different outcomes.

The experts agreed that children should physically be in school this year, and not online.

Possible measures include mask-wearing, pool testing and some degree of physical distancing while children under 12 are still unable to get vaccinated.

While staff and students will likely mask up, there may be a chance at a more normal school year over time.

“Many of us are glad to have had some reprieve from the masking recommendations,” said Dr. Laura Blaisdell, Vice President of the Maine American Academy of Pediatrics. “In order to keep schools open and safe for children, I’m very thrilled that the CDC came up with this strong recommendation.”

“Like every school, we’ve got three or four different scenarios based on transmission rates,” said Ross Berkowitz, Principal of the Fisher Mitchell Elementary School. “How we’re setting up our master schedules, and our days, and cohorting, and all that stuff. The ultimate goal is getting our kids back in as normal a routine as possible.”

The panel said that vaccines are not yet required for staff and students eligible for them... and that all decisions about health guidances are up to the local school boards.

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