STATEWIDE — No matter what learning model schools take, some teachers and students won’t be returning to school this fall and that has created a hiring challenge.
All Maine schools have a green light to move forward with in-school classes and a number of students and staff have decided to remain home.
“We’ll take the ones that can’t do it, who are compromised for whatever reason individually, and look at a hybrid-remote plan for them,” said Superintendent Jim Chasse of Hermon School Department.
“As you can imagine, we might also have some staff members that are insecure with all of this or medically compromised and if they’re still able to work, we’ll probably have a remote learning team that will help with those, pair them up with students who need to be remote,” he later added.
About 5 percent of the teachers employed by the Brewer School Department have notified school leaders about their intentions to educate remotely.
“We will have some staff who are home and will be able to help run the on-line stuff,” said Brewer Superintendent Gregg Palmer.
The superintendents said hiring is always difficult and the arrival of the coronavirus has not improved things.
“I think one of the things we’re all going to be challenged with is staffing,” Palmer said.
“Do districts call in a sub for one day? ‘Cause you’re introducing a new potential risk to call in five subs that come in just for the day and go home,” the Brewer superintendent said last week. “If they’ve been in contact with 42 people in the last four days, it’s like bringing all 42 people into your building.”
The school leaders stressed the safety of students and staff is the priority.
“Our teachers miss their students and vice versa. We need it,” Chasse said. “Sometimes I wish we could start tomorrow, the anticipation. We just have to be ready.”
“It’s a work in progress,” Palmer said. “This is uncharted territory for everybody.”