Between remote and hybrid classes, the pandemic has drastically altered education for high schoolers this fall and left many students and parents frustrated and dissatisfied. And those feelings could be having a major impact on how many students — particularly those from rural Maine — may choose to go on to college.

As the school day gets underway at Bucksport High School, Principal Josh Tripp welcomes students as they hop off the bus. There was a time when many would have already had their lives planned out: graduate from high school and go to work at the local Verso paper mill. But when it closed about six years ago, hundreds of local manufacturing jobs went with it, and Tripp says it forced students to rethink their futures.

“Kids know that they can’t just walk out these doors, go down the street, and they’re going to have that $45,000-a-year job waiting for them,” he says. “Doesn’t mean that they have to go to college, but they have to have a plan when they leave here.”

Read the rest of this story at Maine Public’s website.