The Portland school board’s proposal regarding additional time for in-person learning for grades 10-12 is a disappointment. The board’s plan for in-person learning only adds four hours a week. Furthermore, the board hasn’t even set a date for the implementation of the plan.

An empty hallway at Portland High School, seen last July. The school board’s plan would add only four hours a week of additional in-person learning for students in grades 10 through 12 at Portland’s high schools. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Several of the comments in the article are spot on. First, students will be ill-prepared for their Advanced Placement exams versus other students in the state and country who have had more hours of in-person learning. Second, I agree with a mother questioning the wisdom of sending her child to school for 40 minutes of in-person learning a day when the student has to spend well over an hour to ride the bus to and from school.

I would like to suggest the following possible plan:

• The school board aggressively lobbying the state to get teachers vaccinated as soon as possible. Teachers are essential personnel.

• Half the students could go to school Monday, Wednesday and Friday and remote-learn Tuesday and Thursday. The other half would reverse the schedule for the week. The following week, each half would swap their schedules.

For example, Portland High School has about 900 students. This way, only 450 students would be in the school at one time. This should allow for social distancing in the classroom.

• The last 10 minutes of each class, students disinfect their desk for the next class. This should allow for proper hygiene.

The virus has dealt educators and students a bad hand, but let’s try to play it as well as we can.

Samuel Rosenthal
Portland

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