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Teachers in Winthrop call for extended remote learning as COVID-19 cases climb

Virus Outbreak
Stephen B. Morton
AP file
Johnson County High School teacher Michael Caneege teaches anatomy to his students online, Friday, Aug., 20, 2021, in Wrightsville, Ga.

Teachers in Winthrop are calling for the district to move to remote learning for an extended period as it deals with a wave of COVID-19 cases.

On Tuesday night, Superintendent Jim Hodgkin presented the local school committee with several options as the district deals with a wave of about nine positive cases and 60 students in quarantine at its elementary school.

Marcia Luszczki, a teacher and union co-president, said staff members are becoming exhausted as they deal with constant student quarantines.

"And right now, we want everyone to have equal access to the same education. And when we have students in person and quarantine and remote, everyone is not getting the same education," she said.

The school committee did vote to change two "remote learning" days before the Thanksgiving break to days with no school at all.

The superintendent, meanwhile, is urging families to keep students safe and distant from each other during the holidays.

Corrected: November 11, 2021 at 8:20 AM EST
An earlier version of this article said the Maine CDC suggested the Winthrop schools close a school building for the week. That section has been removed, after Maine CDC Spokesperson Robert Long said that the agency "did not recommend closing school buildings" in conversations with Winthrop school officials, and that the agency generally provides tools like pooled testing, infection control guidance, and standard operating procedures "that are designed to allow schools to maintain in-person instruction."