NORTH ANSON — The board overseeing Regional School Unit 74 has directed school administrators to explore options for remote learning for students who must stay home from school to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19.

The board earlier this month decided to adopt a mandatory mask policy for students and staff after beginning the academic year with masks optional.

The school year began with in-person learning for all students, with school officials saying at the time that remote learning was not the best way for students to learn.

But officials now are looking for ways to provide remote-learning options following multiple COVID-19 outbreaks in the district and dozens of students who have been quarantined at home.

A few weeks ago Superintendent Mike Tracy met with staff, board members and others to discuss additional learning options that staff may be able to provide for students at home.

Tracy was told by staff that more options are possible but additional educators would be needed to avoid causing too many disruptions for students attending in-person. Staff also said if a remote learning plan ultimately is needed then they would need time to prepare.


“We brought up at the last meeting that we have hired four new interventionist positions and they’re working with kids on learning gaps in-person,” Tracy said during an RSU 74 board of directors meeting Wednesday. “I’d hate to disrupt that structure, and I’d hate to disrupt what’s beginning to work for our in-person learners to accommodate for our remote learners. We have said all along that remote learning is not good for our students.”

If new positions were to be added, Tracy said the district would work to leverage “as much COVID-19 money as possible.” Another option, he said, is to restructure current staffing.

“I think we need to offer everything that we possibly can, and I think we need to mandate that in the district,” board member Bobbi Sue Harrington said. “I know that teachers are not really happy about it, but parents aren’t happy about the mask mandate that we put in place two weeks ago. It is the situation that we are in, and we need to make the best of it for our kids.”

Children in kindergarten through fifth grade have access to the online education platforms SeeSaw and Google Classroom, though one teacher expressed that parents prefer paper packets for their children to work on at home due to problems with internet access.

Carrabec High School Principal Timothy Richards told the board that students have access to laptops and assignments are automatically uploaded to Google Classroom so that students can participate both in-person and at home.

Tracy noted that for now remote learning is only offered to students who are forced to quarantine.

No decisions came out of Wednesday’s meeting, instead the board asked Tracy to explore remote learning options and present them at a meeting scheduled for Dec. 15.

RSU 74 serves the communities of Anson, Embden, New Portland, North Anson and Solon.

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