BRUNSWICK — Region Ten Technical High School’s Superintendent Paul Perzanoski said Monday that the start of school has gone smoother than anticipated, despite most of the school districts it serves starting different days.

Like most area schools, in order to help stem the spread of COVID-19, Region Ten broke the students into two groups. One group attends the school Monday and Tuesday and receive remote instruction on Thursday and Friday. The second group comes to the school Thursday and Friday and has remote learning Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is a cleaning day and catch-up time for students who need assistance.

Region Ten serves Brunswick School Department, Maine School Administrative District 75, Regional School Unit 5, as well as students from public charter school Harpswell Coastal Academy, Lisbon and Morse high school, and homeschool students.

The school offers many hands-on programs including nursing, firefighting, culinary arts, automotive technology and building trades.

Perzanoski said the students are happy to be back and have been following safety protocols. The philosophy of Region Ten and the sending schools is that a quality technical education can only be enhanced if the students are able to come to the school at least a couple days a week, he added.

Getting students into the school even twice a week increases Region Ten’s ability to present remote learning based on their hands-on experience because their base of knowledge has grown, Perzanoski told The Time Record Monday.

“We are providing technical support for staff weekly to continue to improve by being more varied in our remote education,” he said. “We really hope that the health of the state continues to give us the opportunity to have students on site.”

Perzanoski told the Region Ten school board Monday that the school couldn’t possibly go to full-time in-person instruction and follow the current Maine Department of Education safety protocols.

The transportation of Region Ten students, which sending schools are responsible for providing, remained the main issue since school started.

“We’re trying to work that out still,” he said.

Another hiccup was Harpswell Coastal Academy, with campuses in Harpswell and Brunswick, announcing Sept. 15 that a faculty member tested positive for COVID-19. The school pivoted to full-time online learning through this Friday.

Perzanoski said it was up to Harpswell Coastal Academy to investigate the extent of exposure, “and I determined none of the kids who came to Region Ten had any exposure to the staff member that was identified as possibly having COVID.”

The students were not in close proximity to the staff member within 48 hours of symptoms starting and Perzanoski said he believes the students hadn’t seen the staff member for up to four to five days before symptoms started. 

Perzanoski said Tuesday there were at last count 32 Harpswell Coastal Academy students spread out over four sections at Region Ten.

Enrollment at Region 10 is at 274 students, relatively flat from 2019-20.

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