Bangor High School wants parents to choose how they want their children to return to school this fall within the next week.
Parents can choose to have their kids return to school full-time or a few days a week, or have them learn remotely for the whole semester.
After the state’s health advisory system last Friday allowed every school in Maine to reopen for in-person instruction, Superintendent Betsy Webb confirmed that Bangor schools will be open this fall for in-person instruction.
However, not all students will return to school full-time. A previous survey the school department conducted showed that 60 percent of parents who responded wanted their children to go to school five days a week, 27 percent said they would like a partial return to in-person school and 13 percent said they preferred remote learning, which schools had to switch to in March as they closed down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
But the school department hadn’t announced details of the reopening plan when it sent out that initial survey. Last Friday, Webb said that the school department will run all three reopening scenarios simultaneously depending on families’ preferences.
Tuesday’s survey reiterated a few details of the reopening plan for Bangor parents. It also included a broad outline of the hybrid plan, under which students would attend school in person two or three days a week and learn at home the remaining days. Students could end up attending school in person on Monday and Wednesday, for example, while learning from home Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. That setup would be similar to the plan adopted in Brewer for the start of the school year, under which students will attend school in person two days a week.
Even for students returning full-time, school will not look as it did before.
Bangor schools will put in place safety protocols that the Maine Department of Education has mandated, such as the use of face coverings at school and inside buses, social distancing at all times and frequent handwashing.
High school students will also be divided into groups and asked to remain in those groups as much as possible to limit exposure. They’ll have restricted movement around the school buildings, staggered release times and will have to maintain social distancing.
High schoolers will also follow a modified schedule when they return to limit transitions between classes. They’ll take four classes a semester in 80-minute blocks.
Bangor will return to its traditional grading system for all students, including those learning from home. When schools went remote in March, the district chose to implement a pass-fail system.