The Star-Herald

SAD 45 opts for hybrid learning plan amidst rising cases in the County

WASHBURN, Maine — SAD 45 in Washburn announced Thursday that its schools will move into a hybrid learning plan beginning on Monday, Jan. 11.

In a memo sent to families and staff members on Thursday, Superintendent Larry Worcester said that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Washburn District Elementary School or Washburn District High School.

The district has decided to move into a hybrid, or “yellow,” learning plan as a precaution due to rising case numbers in Aroostook County, he said. 

As of Thursday, the Maine CDC data showed 623 active cases in Aroostook County. Zip code data from the agency indicated that, as of Jan. 3, there could be around 20 to 49 cases in the Washburn area. The surrounding communities of Presque Isle and Mapleton were estimated to have at least 92 and 41 cases, respectively.

The increase in cases locally has resulted in many parents choosing to have their children learn remotely rather than attend school in person, Worcester said in his memo. Under a yellow plan, students alternate between days of attending classes in person and at home using virtual technologies.

Under SAD 45’s plan, elementary students will use a Monday through Friday schedule while middle and high school students will use a Monday through Thursday schedule. Select middle and high school students will use Fridays as Response to Intervention days to catch up on missed or incomplete work in order to maintain passing grades. On days of in-person learning, students will dismiss at 2 p.m.

“We will evaluate the [COVID-19] situation every two weeks to see if adjustments need to be made or if we are able to return to our Green Learning Plan with all students in school five days a week,” Worcester said.

SAD 45’s decision comes just one day after SAD 42 in Mars Hill announced a transition to full remote learning after two individuals in the district tested positive for COVID-19. SAD 42 currently plans on returning to in-person classes Jan. 19.

On Monday, SAD 20 in Fort Fairfield began the new year with remote learning after individuals were said to have begun quarantining after exposure to COVID-19. The district plans to update the community on Friday as to whether students will return to school next week.

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