LEWISTON — The Lewiston School Committee voted unanimously Monday night to delay the start of the upcoming school year until Sept. 14.

Interim Superintendent Jake Langlais suggested the committee delay the start of Lewiston’s school year until Sept. 8 or 14 to give teachers and staff more time to prepare.

He cautioned, however, that “until we get a waiver from the state approving missing days of school, we run the risk of breaking state law or violating the teachers’ contract at the end of the year.”

“From my perspective as president of the LEA, I’m 100% on board with (starting Sept. 14),” said Allison Lytton, president of the Lewiston Education Association and an educator in Lewiston. “There’s real potential that regardless of the start of the school year, at some point, there’ll be a waiver approved by June. I don’t see why the state wouldn’t approve that request.”

Earlier in the meeting, the committee voted 7-3 against adopting a hybrid model that would have allowed students to return to school in person for two days a week and utilize remote studies the other three days. By the end of the meeting, the committee voted 5-4 in favor of the hybrid model.

The hybrid plan proposed splitting students into four cohorts, each with different weekly schedules.


Cohorts A and B would attend classes in person two days of the week, and study remotely for the other three.

Cohort A would go to school in person Monday and Tuesday, and Cohort B Thursday and Friday.

Students in the same family attending school would be assigned to the same cohort.

Parents would have been able to elect to enroll their children fully online in Cohort C.

Some students who have special circumstances or learning needs would attend classes in person four days each week as Cohort D. The students in this group would be determined by the school.

During the public comment portion of Monday evening’s meeting, many Lewiston teachers and parents spoke out in favor of the hybrid model but were concerned that more time was needed to train teachers and staff how to teach remotely at an adequate level and to make sure the buildings were safe enough for students and staff.


Allison Lytton, president of the Lewiston Education Association and an educator in Lewiston, said while she and the LEA agree with the hybrid model, they believe giving staff more time to prepare for the start of the school year would be beneficial.

“We need to make sure working conditions for students and staff are safe,” Lytten said, “and we need to make sure we don’t make mistakes.”

She added that “staff preparedness” is a “huge, huge concern for us.”

“LEA is entirely in favor of (postponing the start of the school year),” Lytton said. “We need to be able to look families in the face and tell them confidently that their child is safe with us.”

Parent Janet Beaudoin, who emailed the school committee Monday evening, wrote that she did not think there was any evidence supporting that keeping Lewiston schools closed would stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Maybe if it was in Seattle or New York, but not in Lewiston,” Beaudoin wrote. “At some point, we’ll need to take a cautious step forward.”

She added if the school decides not to move forward with the hybrid plan, “I would like to request that we push back the opening of school by no more than three weeks.”

Lori Fowler, a pre-K teacher at Montello Elementary School, said she would be concerned with running a classroom with young students and expecting them to adhere to social-distancing standards.

“I think we need more time to figure this out, because Lewiston can do this,” Fowler said. “We just need more time.”

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