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Oxford Hills parent expresses concerns about remote learning


PARIS — A parent addressed the School Administrative District 17 board of directors Monday night with concerns about a “lack of consistency in education” for Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School students who are learning remotely.

Kim Bell singled out two teachers — Robert Beneca and Amy White — for jobs well done, but lamented that not all educators seem to be striving for the same level.

“These two are rocking it,” she said. “But some other classes have no continuity. My son says not all the teachers provide links for students to follow in their Zoom classes and he has to search for them himself. Some do media screen shares for the class, which slow down the connections. There needs to be a baseline for all teachers to follow.”

Bell said one teacher, who was not identified by name, told a class that Wednesdays are basically off since there are no standards set for that day. Bell also expressed frustration that when the high school went to remote learning, it required students to have a day off from school so teachers could prepare lesson plans.

Bell said she did not understand why this was necessary when lesson plans for in-person, remote and hybrid learning were drawn up before the school year began. She said she recognized that everyone was working hard, but felt it important to call attention to certain “issues.”

“I came here to voice my concerns,” Bell said. “I’ve talked with other parents. I will do whatever I need to to be part of the solution.”

Board Chairperson Diana Olsen thanked Bell for addressing the board.

Curriculum committee Chair Sara Otterson of Paris followed Bell’s statements with a report on a meeting last Tuesday involving the district’s elementary school principals, at which they presented information on what successes and challenges in hybrid and distance learning.

Otterson said the elementary schools have done a good job working through difficult times. The next curriculum committee meeting is expected to include similar presentations from middle and high school administrators. She invited all at the meeting to participate through Zoom.

Superintendent Rick Colpitts reported on COVID-19 conditions at various schools. The quarantine period for students and staff members exposed to two students at Otisfield Elementary School has ended.

Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School and Guy E. Rowe Elementary School in Norway remain closed. The high school has 37 in quarantine, with four confirmed cases.

At Rowe, the only school where transmission could be traced within the school, 58 students and staff members are in quarantine, there are nine confirmed cases and one probable case reported.

Colpitts said Monday marked the last day school was in session for both Oxford Elementary and Paris Elementary schools until after Thanksgiving.

PES has reached the “outbreak” number of three cases, set by the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention.

OES has reported two positive cases since Friday. With at least nine educators in quarantine due to exposure with one staff who later tested positive, however, the school does not have enough teachers to hold in-person classes.

Colpitts added the district has received enough laptops to supply all students, but the technology staff is still formatting and loading programs inti the computers.


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