February 18, 2022
I am writing to inform you that Hermon Schools will plan on moving to a “mask-optional” model on March 14th, two weeks after February break. This is subject to change should conditions dictate.
First, the superintendents in our region are grateful for the listening ear of Dr. Shah, DHHS Commissioner Lambrew, and DOE’s Pender Makin. They have been listening and responsive to our concerns about the Standard Operating Procedure; last month this resulted in eliminating contact tracing and adjustments to student quarantines. This has proven to keep more students in school. We now anticipate an SOP change after the break that will allow for optional masking without contact tracing or unnecessary quarantines. THIS COULD CHANGE if there were significant changes in the current trend (please watch Dr. Shah’s video below).
When students return from break pool testing will resume, this will give us a snapshot of February break cases for each school (every school break has resulted in some case spikes). You are encouraged to use a home test before returning to school (https://www.accesscovidtests.org/ free Maine test kits via Amazon) and PLEASE do not send symptomatic students to school.
Masks may be required in any school should conditions warrant. Current conditions:
We will continue to follow these results and if cases drastically increase we will reconsider mitigation strategies and or follow updated SOP guidance. We receive pool testing results on Friday of each week and will continue to keep you all posted.
This approach is an intermediate step for what is hoped to be another adjustment towards normalcy. Of course, the decision to wear a mask during the “mask-optional” times will reside with you and your student. Masks will be required for students returning from a five-day quarantine for an additional five days at school after testing positive. Anyone can wear a mask if they so choose. I should mention that the federal mandate for transportation ends March 18th, so masks may be required on bussing until that date.
March 15th marks two years of responding to COVID-19 in our schools. We have hosted multiple vaccinations and booster clinics, protected the elderly and compromised, implemented a myriad of protocols, adjusted schedules, and adhered to state and federal requirements. Over time the medical profession has created various treatments for those compromised. We also have a growing natural immunity through high numbers of positive cases. Hospitalizations continue to decrease and students testing positive have been asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.
Thank you again to our nurses who all support this plan of action. You continue to impress!
If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.
I thank ALL OF YOU for your endurance and I hope and pray our counts continue to stay low and the virus is done throwing us curveballs, COVID can get out of town!
Have a great weekend,
CC: beginning at 10.24-minute mark
HSD is hosting a Student and Staff Booster Clinic Today at HHS Cafe, we have just over 40 people registered. Thank you Bangor Drug!!!