The Maine Department of Education has given the green light to all Maine counties, enabling schools to bring students back for in-classroom instruction in the fall.

The news now puts the onus on each school district to determine how each one wants to deal with resumption of classes in September. The Maine DOE is working with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services, determining the necessary factors for keeping students as safe as possible. The coding system is based on quantitative and qualitative data about COVID-19 in each Maine county. A red light would indicate that it is not safe for students to return to the classroom and they should continue with distance learning, while a green light would allow for students to return to their schools in the fall. The yellow light would allow for a hybrid of both, with a combination of in-school and distance learning.

On Friday, the Maine DOE issued a green light for all Maine counties, but officials expect many schools will opt for the hybrid, rather than opening full-time. Many guidelines need to be strictly adhered to, before students can be allowed into class. They include:

  • Symptom screenings before coming to school.
  • Physical distancing in and around school facilities.
  • Masks/face coverings.
  • Hand hygiene.
  • Personal protective equipment.
  • Return to school after illness.

Governor Mills says these guidelines will be supported by up to $165 million dollars in Federal CARES Act funds. While the current designation for schools is a green light, officials say it could change before the semester begins, if the COVID-19 numbers begin to climb once again. The color code will be updated every two weeks.