The Brunswick School Board voted 8-1 Wednesday to increase in-person learning to at least four days a week at all K-12 schools starting April 26.

A remote learning option will still be available for students who don’t want to attend classes in person.

Board member Celina Harrison voted against the proposal, citing concern about overloading teachers in upper grade levels with the new schedule that would include both remote and increased in-person learning.

“We appreciate our teachers and we understand that this is just another huge stressor that we’re adding on top of already an extremely stressful year,” Harrison said, advocating for preparation days for teachers before the transition.

The motion directed Superintendent Philip Potenziano to reopen by April 26.

“It isn’t a light switch, it is a significant undertaking,” said Potenziano in the meeting. “There’s going to be disruptions, there’s no two ways around it, there’s going to be disruptions for our staff, there’s going to disruptions for our students.”

The school plans to send out a new survey for parents to chose between the remote option and the four to five-day-a-week in-person option.

Since reopening in September, the Brunswick High School has been offering a hybrid in-person program as well as fully remote option to students as a result of the pandemic.

“The district will strive to maintain all Maine Department of Education requirements, including social distancing,” Potenziano wrote in a letter to staff, students and parents. “We will also make every effort to maintain the class placements and routines established in September. However, the process of revamping virtually all educational programming and support services to enable this change may lead to some unforeseen and/or unwelcome consequences.”

According to the Brunswick School District’s COVID-19 dashboard, the district has had 45 cases of COVID-19, 44 of which are recovered and one that is currently active at Kate Furbish Elementary.

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