No school until fall? Head of Maine education talks major changes and what's ahead

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The head of Maine's Department of Education suggests parents should be prepared for kids to return to class possibly as late as the fall.

Many are wondering when their students will go back to school or if they'll graduate on time.

TV5 spoke with Pender Makin Tuesday afternoon.

She is optimistic in these tough times, but wants parents and students to know she thinks things are going to be very different for awhile.

"The CDC guidance would recommend an 8 to 20 week interruption in classroom based instruction," said Makin.

A possible 2 to 5 months without classroom based learning has forced the Department of Education to make changes.

"We are waiving the minimum required number of school days this year," she said. "In fact, we are waving many of the state requirements that are impossible to meet as a result of the coronavirus disruption."

She says that most high school seniors at this point have met the standards to graduate - and for those that haven't...

"To the extent possible the Department of Education is also willing to create credit recovery options for seniors who need to complete additional requirements," said Makin on Tuesday.

She added "I think it's very likely that the students who were on track for graduation before this emergency happened are very likely to be earning their diplomas at this year."

Makin says that she will work closely with school districts about how best to move forward. Knowing that each deals with different circumstances. Some are currently aiming to be back in school following April break, but that may not be the case.

"My guess is that we're going to have students back in school in the fall," she said. "It may happen sooner. We may be able to return to classes sometime late spring but I urge people not to count on that fact."

If you are among the thousands running your first home school..

Keep calm and carry on.

"I think people are very concerned and I think they need to be gentle with themselves. Recognize that children are going to learn and having them in the most enriched environment possible will support greater learning. It's time for us to all just be patient and be kind with one another."

She also said that from all of this they have learned a lot about where certain shortcomings in terms of access to internet need to be addressed.
Also, how snow days and remote learning could be handled in the future.