Opportunity Training Center Adapting to COVID-19 Guidelines

Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 6:49 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - School is back in session throughout the county. Schools have had to adhere to the new guidelines put in place by the CDC. News Source 8′s Cam Smith has more on how one school in the county is adapting.

The Opportunity Training Center in Presque Isle started classes on Monday. The school is a special purpose, private school, for students with both physical and intellectual disabilities. For students, heading to school looks different this year.

“They come right through the door, the very first day with their mask on and they stop at the door. Before they even enter the building, we take their temperature. We correspond very closely with our parents by calling them, emailing them the night before to make sure that there are no other symptoms. Or they haven’t traveled, or nobody has traveled or visited from outside of the state. So, just trying to be very cautious.”

Paula Perkins, Director of the training center says they have made upgrades to technology to allow teachers to teach both in person and remote students at the same time.

“The device allows us to zoom the entire class to the students who are sitting at home interacting with their peers. Their able to answer questions that I ask them as well, interact with their peers if we are doing group work.”

OTC has made changes to their classroom layout as well.

“As things changed with the regulations from the DOE, we had to adapt our rooms. You can see, we are in our gym. Our multipurpose room that has been transformed into our high school classroom this year so we could do six feet apart.”

Students and staff are required to wear face masks. Shields are also available if the student is unable to wear a mask for any reason.

“We do have several students who are wearing shields instead of a masks. Those students… the IEP team or individual education plan teams have met to make sure that we have that accommodation for them. If they are wearing a shield only, the staff are wearing a mask and a shield. In some cases, also gloves.”

Perkins adds that students never have their mask on for more than a half hour at a time and breaks are taken when necessary to ensure the safety of students and staff. Cam Smith, News Source 8.

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