Wiscasset Middle High School opened its first new classroom in 48 years with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday, Feb. 22.
The school transformed part of the boys locker room into the new classroom. The school needs the classroom to enable physical distancing and meet COVID-19 guidelines, according to WMHS Principal Charles Lomonte.
The new space will make it possible for classes to have a ratio of 12 students to one teacher. Health teacher Elizabeth Hemdal moved into the new classroom and new middle school teacher Sarah Adkins will take over Hemdal’s previous room.
The new classroom is the school’s first since 1973, when the school was renovated to accommodate more students.
Middle school students are beginning to return to in-person school, with sixth grade returning this week, seventh grade next week, and eighth grade the following week.
Since the beginning of the school year, students have attended school in two separate groups. Group A students attended school in person on Monday and Tuesday, while Group B students attended Thursday and Friday. Everyone participated in remote learning on Wednesday and on the days they were not present in person.
On Monday, the school started to bring back all students, except those who have chosen an all-remote learning option. Students will attend school in person four days per week, with remote learning continuing on Wednesdays.
Hemdal said the students in her adviser group are excited about the move. Her students are seniors, and Hemdal’s previous classroom was far from the rest of the 12th-grade classes.
The change works for Hemdal, too — she likes to take her classes on walks around the track, which is now just outside her door. A wall divides a small area in the back of the room where there were showers before, but Hemdal hopes to install kitchen equipment in this area to aid in nutrition lessons.
Lomonte said he is “delighted” with the new classroom and eager to have students back in the building.
The new classroom does not take up the entirety of the locker room, and a portion remains for student use.