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Back to School: How The Start of the School Year is Going As The Pandemic Continues to Surge

Elementary girl with mask on bus
Allison Shelley/Photo by Allison Shelley for Ame
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An elementary student waits for her bus to leave school after dismissal. <br><strong> Photo by Allison Shelley for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action </strong>

For the second year, the start of school has been rocky, in spite of high hopes for a more “normal” back-to-school experience at this stage of the pandemic. We’ll find out how schools and students have been handling Covid outbreaks, staff shortages, pool testing—and concerns about face coverings and vaccinations (or lack of them). Education leaders will share their plans for the months ahead.

Panelists:
Pender Makin, commissioner, Maine Department of Education
Grace Leavitt, president, Maine Education Association

VIP Callers:
Suzen Polk-Hoffses, teacher, Milbridge Elementary School
Michelle Caron, Director of Transportation, Brunswick School Department; president, Maine Association for Pupil Transportation
Melinda Nadeau, president, Maine Association of School Nurses

Jennifer walked into her college radio station as a 17-year-old freshman and never looked back. Even though she was terrified of the microphone back then — and spoke into it as little as possible — she loved the studio, the atmosphere and, most of all, the people who work in broadcasting. She was hooked. Decades later, she’s back behind the radio microphone hosting Maine Public Radio’s flagship talk program, Maine Calling. She’s not afraid of the mic anymore, but still loves the bright, eclectic people she gets to work with every day.
Cindy helps produce Maine Public's live call-in show Maine Calling, and sometimes hosts the show—as well as the All Books Considered Book Club. Her first foray into journalism after graduating from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism was to intern with CNN in China in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre. She then worked in print journalism over the decades, as a factchecker, writer and editor, with publications ranging from the Los Angeles Times Magazine to the magazine of the National Zoo to a food trends magazine.