Maine’s eight Catholic schools plan to resume in-classroom instruction this fall, the Diocese of Portland announced Monday.

Bishop Robert Deeley speaks with students at St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick. Courtesy of Catholic Diocese

Like Maine public schools, Catholic schools in the state closed abruptly in March and turned to online instruction as a substitute when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Maine. But the Office of Maine Catholic Schools announced Monday that it planned to reopen its eight campuses for full-day instruction, five days a week, with before and after-care options available.

“Following CDC guidelines for reopening schools, we are in the process of modifying our classrooms and facilities to successfully comply,” said Marianne Pelletier, superintendent of Maine Catholic Schools. “Additional cleaning supplies have been ordered and extra staff is being brought on to assist.”

Families that aren’t comfortable with in-school instruction due to pandemic concerns can participate in a virtual distance-learning option that focuses on core content instruction that Maine Catholic Schools is currently developing with the Diocese of Portland, Pelletier said.

The Maine Catholic Schools include: All Saints School in Bangor, Holy Cross School in South Portland, St. Brigid School in Portland, Saint Dominic Academy in Auburn and Lewiston, St. James School in Biddeford, St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick, St. Michael School in Augusta and St. Thomas School in Sanford.

The Maine Department of Education is still developing guidance on reopening for the state’s public schools, but the decision on whether to reopen will ultimately be up to each individual district. Individual school districts are trying to figure out how they will pay for extra classroom space that may be needed to meet physical distancing recommendations.

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