August 23, 2021
This note is to update you regarding school reopening plans based on local COVID19 conditions.
We are beginning to see local cases of COVID-19 in our athletic teams and in our community, last week we placed five students on quarantine due to two confirmed cases at our high school and one community case.
Today we held an administrative meeting to discuss the logistics of implementing pool testing. It is good to know that there are ways to measure local cases and increase school time by decreasing quarantine time. We will need a window of time to process parent permission forms, register each student, gain supplies (arriving tomorrow), and create pool groups. Pool testing will be very important when it comes to keeping students in school.
Due to the aforementioned, we will begin school with masks at all grade levels. We need to gradually reduce restrictions as pool testing becomes fully established.
Late last week and over the weekend I learned that there is a possibility that HSD could be in jeopardy of losing federal funds if we do not adhere to CDC/MCDC/DOE guidelines. I will know if this is the case when the department opens grant applications for local schools sometime in the very near future.
Please remember that at the end of last year our first objective at the end of the year was a return to in-person learning for five days per week for all students. We will realize that goal this week.
I understand that this decision will not be popular with all people, and it even contradicts some of my own personal beliefs. Please know that I take the safety of our students seriously and prefer erring on the side of caution as we see how things unfold locally, regionally, and state-wide over the next few weeks. I do not want any student becoming a pandemic statistic and I must consider each and every student. The school committee will evaluate progress at its September 14th meeting. Like last year, I will also continue to send out text messages to update families on any COVID happenings.
The Maine Center for Disease Control released a new SOP that releases students from quarantine if they wear masks or pool test or vaccinate. They, the CDC and the DOE are also fully supporting and strongly encouraging universal masking. We will begin school this way with high hopes of few cases and few quarantines.
Again, we need some time to reintroduce a regular school schedule and monitor progress.
We are on this roller coaster ride together and I am charged with making sure the tracks are well maintained. Thanks for understanding, we will get there. Please reach out to me with any questions.
FYI: Pool testing permission slips will soon be sent to parents NewsCenter Maine clip explaining Pooled Testing.
Maine CDC SOP link Standard Operating Procedures