Edgecomb Eddy School students and faculty will return to school in person four days a week, with a start date of Tuesday, Sept. 8.
All students will attend in-person classes each weekday except Wednesday, which will be a remote learning day.
“The details of this are still to be determined, but the expectation at this time is that there will be opportunities for online teacher connections as well as time for faculty and staff to plan lessons and units of instruction for both in-person and remote learners,” Edgecomb Eddy School Principal Ira Michaud said in an Aug. 11 letter.
The Maine Department of Education and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention have categorized all 16 Maine counties as “green,” meaning they are at low risk for COVID-19 transmission and can fully reopen schools. The state will update the categorizations every two weeks.
Remote education on Wednesday will last at least through the first trimester, which ends Nov. 20. Edgecomb Eddy School staff will then assess the benefits and detriments of the model.
“We hope that this plan allows a midweek break to remove masks (for both students and adults), a midweek thorough sanitization of the school, and a chance for distance learners to connect with their teachers and check in,” Michaud wrote. A remote-only option will also be available for families.
Additionally, Michaud is developing a plan for outdoor learning, which will allow students and teachers to maintain a distance of 6 feet and provide a break from face coverings.
Parents, guardians, and other caregivers will not be allowed in the school building and there will be no in-person volunteers until further notice.
Students will be divided into four cohorts to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission — preschool and kindergarten, first and second grade, third and fourth grade, and fifth and sixth grade. There will be four lunch times and four recess times daily, and the school is waiting for guidance from LincolnHealth and the Maine Department of Education to determine whether playground equipment can be used.
Art, music, and physical education teachers, as well as guidance counselors, will come to classrooms or meet students outdoors in order to limit student movement within the school.
Students and faculty members in schools will have to follow requirements from the Maine Department of Education and Maine CDC, including at-home symptom screening, physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and washing hands.
The reopening plan distributed to Edgecomb Eddy families by Michaud says the staff recognizes the social element of school: “We will do our best to encourage play that follows guidelines, but also meets the emotional needs of our students.”
Families are asked to make a decision about their student’s educational plan for the first trimester by Friday, Aug. 21. Michaud will call individual households Thursday, Aug. 13 and Friday, Aug. 14.