WATERVILLE — Waterville schools will remain closed until at least April 27, since Superintendent Eric Haley authorized the extension after the Waterville Board of Education voted 6-1 Monday to approve it.

Superintendent Eric Haley, pictured here at a School Board meeting at Waterville Senior High School on July 11, 2018, announced Tuesday that Waterville schools will remain closed until April 27. Morning Sentinel file photo by Michael G. Seamans

While Haley has the power to extend the shutdown, he told board members Monday that he wanted to present it to them first.

“If you do that tonight by vote, then I will authorize that tomorrow,” he said.

The meeting was live-streamed, with several board members joining in from their homes while Haley was situated in the Waterville Junior High School Library.

He told the board before the vote that superintendents met last week and all agreed the coronavirus situation was not going to be over in two weeks and they agreed to extend the shutdown until April 27. He told the superintendents he planned to present the proposal to the school board Monday.

The lone dissenter was board member Julian Payne who made a motion to close schools until the end of the school year. His motion failed for lack of a second.

“I think that we’re delaying the inevitable …” Payne said, adding that making the decision now to close schools until the end of the school year would allow time for focusing on other things such as how graduation for seniors will work.

Haley said superintendents talked about that idea when they met, but schools must wait for the state Department of Education to weigh in on the issue. One thing to be discussed is what will happen if seniors are not in school and can’t get the requisite credits to graduate. Haley said the schools can’t do any more than what they are doing, which is closing school for one month at a time.

Board member Pam Trinward said she was opposed to making a decision now about whether to close schools until the end of the school year. Greg Bazakas concurred.

“I think it’s premature,” he said. “It may very well come to that, but there’s no reason to make that decision today.”


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