NORTH ANSON — Regional School Unit 74 has received more than $840,000 in coronavirus-relief grants through the Maine Department of Education to help cover costs related to the pandemic.

Mike Tracy Morning Sentinel file photo

On Wednesday night, the RSU 74 board of directors convened at Carrabec Community School to discuss the grants and receive updates on the return to school.

Superintendent Mike Tracy said as of Wednesday, no student in the district was known to have contracted COVID-19. Some students, however, have been sent home or asked to stay home if they are showing symptoms of the highly contagious virus.

The grant funding for RSU 74, which includes Anson, Embden, New Portland, North Anson and Solon, came in two packages:

• Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund: At $276,799.37, this can be used for expenses from March 13, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2021.

• Coronavirus Relief Fund: At $565,946.91, this can be used for expenses from March 13, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020.

The funds can be spent in many areas, including personnel, supplies/equipment, transportation, professional development, student/family support and technology.

The money was awarded to the state through the federal government’s CARES Act, passed by Congress in March. The amount allocated to RSU 74 was determined by the same formula used in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act grant, which is based on the poverty rate and enrollment numbers.

The funds are not intended to replace items included in the regular budget, but rather to cover nonbudgeted items and services that became necessary due to COVID-19.

The district delayed the start of the school year last month after a student tested positive for COVID-19, but Tracy has said that student remained asymptomatic throughout quarantine and had returned to school, along with all of his close contacts.

RSU 74 officials said they plan to begin the second phase of reopening next week. That phase runs from Oct. 13 to Dec. 22.

Under this second phase:

• Kindergarten through grade five will attend Tuesday through Friday, with the exception of students who are learning remotely. Students will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. On Mondays, teachers will prepare, check in with remote students and the facilities will be cleaned. Cohorts will no longer be in place for these grades when this phase goes into effect.

• Grades six to eight will attend Tuesday through Friday, with 50% of the student population being hybrid, which is the current structure. Dismissal will be at 2:30 p.m., and cohorts will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays and Wednesdays and Fridays. Mondays will remain a day for teacher preparation, home learning and cleaning.

• Grades nine to 12 will attend Monday through Friday, with 50% of the student population working under a hybrid model, which is the current structure. Full day dismissal will be at 2:30 p.m.

Under the second phase, the morning bus runs and arrival patterns remain the same. Afternoons will have an elementary bus run at 12:30 p.m. and middle and high school bus runs are scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

Mandatory temperature checks will be discontinued under this plan. If the governor’s at-risk level for the area remains the same, the plan under the third phase is to start dismissing all students at 2:30 p.m., after the December break.

All other aspects of this plan will likely remain in effect for the remainder of the school year, unless physical-distancing guidelines change, which will be evaluated at a December board meeting.

“The teachers and staff are working at least as hard, or harder, as they were (before the pandemic) trying to learn new systems and structures,” Tracy said Wednesday. “I commend them, and I am grateful for our staff.”


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