Virus news: Maine schools start; officials fear bankruptcies
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine students are returning to school in earnest after the Labor Day weekend, but school is going to look a lot different for them.
Most schools are offering a hybrid of in-person and at-home instruction. Students and staffers have to wear masks. Buses are running more frequently and with fewer students in some places.
“We’re all in the same boat. We’re all scared. We’re all nervous. We’re all anxious. We want to see students, but there are so many unknowns,” Erin Bouchard, an English teacher at Scarborough High School, told the Portland Press Herald.
Bouchard, who is taking a leave of absence to start the school year because of a lack of child care for her own children, said there will be a learning curve, calling it “one class at a time, one hour at a time.”
For some, the first day of school is being delayed. RSU 57 in York County pushed back the start until Sept. 14 after a person associated with the transportation department tested positive for the coronavirus.
In other coronavirus-related news:
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday that the number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state increased by 12.
The number of people who have tested positive in Maine stands at 4,713 while the number of patients who have died in Maine is 134, the Maine CDC reported.
The COVID-19 illness results in mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems.
The deadline to apply for a grant via the Maine Economic Recovery Program is Wednesday. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said small businesses and nonprofit groups should make sure they apply in time.
The $200 million program is designed to help businesses in the state bounce back. Mills said that the grants “cannot wholly replace or repair the economic damage caused by this pandemic,” but that the state wants “to ensure that as many small businesses and non-profits as possible are able to access every dollar they can to support themselves as we move into the fall.”
Maine bankruptcies are down since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but officials worry that trend is coming to an end.
Government financial support, banks’ willingness to defer loan and interest payments, and a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures have kept most consumers and businesses out of insolvency.
But bankruptcy experts forecast more people and companies will seek relief from insurmountable debt in the months ahead as aid runs out, courts reopen and banks call in loans, the Press Herald reports.
Maine consumer bankruptcies year to date were down 14% in July from 2019, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.