LIMESTONE, Maine — The Limestone School Committee plans to make a formal decision on whether to start the 2020-21 school year with a complete school reopening (green) or a hybrid learning model with some in-school and some at-home learning (yellow) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Limestone Community School Principal Ben Lothrop said on Tuesday that the school is tentatively preparing for students to return on Aug. 26 with the green model, based on the Maine Department of Education’s recent designation of Aroostook County as a green region.
“The board will finalize that decision at the meeting next week,” Lothrop wrote in an email, “and of course, this can change as the COVID-19 situation changes.”
The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, in the Limestone Community School’s administrative conference room, located behind the main office.
Lothrop said masks and/or face shields, as well as social distancing, will be required. Parents are being encouraged to bring their own children if possible, but the school will still take students who are unable to receive a ride from their parents.
No changes have been made to the school’s calendar as of Tuesday, but Lothrop said the situation with the virus is fluid and it may be subject to change.
At this point, approximately 135 students are registered to begin classes during the new school year.
Lothrop said administration, staff and teachers have spent all summer preparing for the upcoming year, adding that they are also prepared for changes to occur quickly due to the unpredictability of the pandemic.
“We have spent all summer preparing, but there are so many unknowns. And things can change overnight, as we found out last spring,” he said. “We will keep health and safety as the priority for our students and staff, and will do our best to deliver the best education possible given whatever conditions we are presented with.”
He said he hopes the school will be able to complete the entire upcoming year while in the green, but that they are prepared to move down to yellow or even red — total distance learning — if necessary.
Parents who wish to continue remote learning for their children, or who have any questions concerning social distancing, mask requirements, transportation, or have questions about any other aspect of the upcoming school year, can contact the school. The school lists its phone number as 207-325-4742 and email as email@example.com on its official website.