SCARBOROUGH — Scarborough school officials say they are ready to open schools Sept. 8, but some key details are still being worked out.

School Board Chairwoman Leanne Kazilionis told The Forecaster she wanted to know how the district will handle a potentially greater number of parents dropping kids off, or how the district will handle contact tracing, or monitoring someone who tests positive for the disease. The board was scheduled to meet Thursday, Aug. 20, after The Forecaster’s deadline, to address those challenges.

The hybrid plan adopted at a July 30 School Board meeting will allow some students to attend classes entirely by remote learning, similar to the format adopted this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. The exact number of those students was not available, but the plan indicates all other students will be attending school in person for two days, and learning remotely the rest of the week.

School Superintendent Sandy Prince told The Forecaster that the hybrid model was necessary due to space limitations. He said the state department of education has cleared schools to bring all the kids back this fall, but at the same time state officials have issued a number of guidelines, including social distancing, masks, instructing parents on how to screen their kids for symptoms before they come to school, washing hands or using sanitizing gel, mandating staff members wear additional equipment such as face shields and ensuring sick staff or students remain at home.

The social distancing guidelines in particular, Prince said, make it impossible to have the normal number of students in a single classroom.

“You can’t have all 1,000 high school kids in the building at the same time,” Prince said.

Kazilionis said she was also concerned, not just as a school board member but as a mother, about whether athletic programs would be going forward this year.

“It’s my son’s senior year, and the idea of him not playing football this year breaks my heart,” she said.

Kazilionis declined to allow a reporter to speak with her son and attempts to reach other students for comment through the district were unsuccessful.

Despite her concerns about lingering questions, Kazilionis said she was impressed with the details of the plan.

“I’m actually really pleased how far ahead we were than other districts when we (voted),” she said.

Other board members also said they were confident in the plan as presented on July 30.

“I think it’s important to realize that the plan tonight, which I will be supporting, is a jumping-off point,” said Board Member Hillory Durgin during the July 30 meeting. “As things change, different decisions might need to be made, and our supportiveness tonight doesn’t mean that those decisions can’t be made based on new information that comes out.”

Sean Murphy 780-9094

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