Happy Friday to everyone and best wishes for a positive beginning to your February breaks! By the time we return, February will be pretty much a thing of the past and we'll be quickly on to March already! The School year is certainly flying by and even with our challenges, we certainly have much to celebrate! As usual, I'll begin this blog with a "snapshot" of our students doing what they do best - learning! And oh, by the way - having fun while doing it!
The following guidance was discussed, and it was determined that required masking in schools will be in place for at least a week following the end of February break. The guidance says:
- Maine CDC is expanding access and encouraging all families to take advantage of the free test kits that are available to Maine families. Testing before returning to school after the vacation is recommended. Further information on how to get testing kits mailed to homes will be provided.
- Contact tracing will be uncoupled from universal masking in the SOP. The SOP document will make it clear that while schools can opt to continue contact tracing, they are no longer required to, regardless of mask wearing policies.
- Masking will remain a requirement in the SOP for any positive cases of COVID-19 returning to school/work in the 5-10 day window after confirmed diagnosis or symptom onset.
- Maine CDC is carefully monitoring federal CDC’s words on making changes to masking recommendations for school settings. In the event that there are no changes next week, and if there is a continued positive trend related to COVID case counts in Maine, CDC will begin Maine specific conversations that could establish plans for moving toward a masking optional recommendation for schools.
- It should be noted that the federal transportation requirement for masks is currently in effect until March 18, including for school buses. Any changes to this timeline would have to come from federal CDC.
- At this time, pooled testing will continue to be supported by the state.