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More Maine Schools Go Remote Around Thanksgiving

More schools in Maine are moving to remote learning, at least temporarily, as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the state.

At Gray-New Gloucester High School, students are moving to remote learning through next week. Superintendent Craig King says as the normal cold and flu season has arrived in the midst of the pandemic, school staffers have begun calling out sick with symptoms, making it impossible for in-person learning to continue.

“So once you start hitting six, seven, eight, nine absences in your professional and support staff, it becomes almost impossible for the school to function,” he says.

Craig says the current plan is to return to school after the Thanksgiving break, but he says administrators will be monitoring local case counts and are advising families to be cautious with upcoming travel and gatherings.

Schools in Augusta and Medway announced in recent days that they would move remote until at least the week after Thanksgiving.

Medway Middle School Principal Alyssa Dickinson says the hope is to minimize transmission following the holiday, particularly as many families are likely to travel or gather together.

“So we thought going remote that following would give us a quarantine period, basically, before we reintroduced students into the building,” she says.

Steve Bailey, the executive director of the Maine Schools Management Association, says he expects more schools to make similar transitions to virtual learning as the holidays approach.