RSU 29 shortens school year during COVID-19

HOULTON, Maine — The school year will officially come to an end one week earlier for students in Houlton, Littleton, Monticello and Hammond.

The RSU 29 school board unanimously agreed during a Monday, May 4, meeting to change the final day of classes for students.

“All of these days have been waived [by the state] so we do not have to make up any of the days from March 13 to the end of the school year,” RSU 29 Superintendent Ellen Halliday explained. “Nor do we have to make up any of our snow days.”

The new final date of remote learning will be Friday, June 5, for students in grades pre-K through grade 11. Seniors will see their final day of classes on Friday, May 29. The original final day of classes was slated for June 12.

“This allows seniors the opportunity to get their laptops turned in and everything they need to do to get ready to receive their diploma,” Halliday said.

Houlton’s graduation ceremony will be held on its regularly scheduled date of Thursday, June 4, at 7 p.m. Exactly how that ceremony will transpire has yet to be finalized by school administrators.

Getting returning students up to speed in the fall, when students return to live classrooms, will be one of the district’s top priorities.

“One of the major things we need to work on is course corrections,” Halliday said. “There may be some concepts or skills that teachers may not have been able to provide to students because of the way we have had to do instruction. We want to make sure those things are folded into the following school year.”

Students across the state have been participating in remote learning since March 13, when the news of the seriousness of the coronavirus first broke.

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