Hollis, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Susan Collins visited Hollis Elementary School to meet with leaders of the Bonny Eagle School District (MSAD 6) and discuss how the District is preparing to safely reopen for in-school instruction amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Collins also toured the elementary school.
Those in attendance included Paul Penna, Superintendent of Schools for MSAD 6; Lori Napolitano, Assistant Superintendent of Schools; and Clay Gleason, Principal of Hollis Elementary.
“Despite significant disruptions to our education system, teachers and staff at MSAD 6 and schools throughout Maine have gone above and beyond to help students continue to achieve their educational goals,” said Senator Collins. “I had a productive discussion today with leaders from MSAD 6 about the steps they are taking to keep their school community safe.”
“Public schools are preparing to welcome students back to school this fall by procuring adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, reconfiguring classroom spaces, installing Plexiglas shields, and adding new bus routes,” Senator Collins continued. “Congress needs to provide additional funds in the next COVID-19 relief package to help school districts implement these changes to protect students, teachers, staff, custodians, food service and other employees.”
MSAD 6 is composed of Buxton, Hollis, Frye Island, Standish, and Limington. It serves more than 3,500 students and employs approximately 600 faculty and staff. The District operates the largest public sector bus fleet in Maine. There are six elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.
As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Collins is working to provide the resources schools need to safely reopen.
At a hearing last month, Senator Collins questioned Dr. Anthony Fauci about a new method to more efficiently test large groups of people for COVID-19. This cost-effective strategy, known as pool testing, can be used in settings such as schools to detect the presence of the virus. At a separate hearing, Senator Collins, questioned college presidents and a public health expertabout their work to help students, faculty, and staff safely return to campus this fall.
In May, Senator Collins joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the State and Municipal Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Act. The SMART Act would provide emergency funding to every state, county, and community in the country to help offset costs and revenue shortfalls—including those for schools—as a result of COVID-19. Maine would receive at least $2 billion through this legislation.
Earlier this year, Senator Collins announced that Maine was awarded nearly $44 million through the CARES Act to support K-12 students. Additionally, she announced that Maine received a $9.2 million block grant to support K-12 and postsecondary education in the state.