Good Day Folks,
This note is to share changes to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that was approved upon reopening our schools for the 2021-22 School year (adopted in August 2021). The State CDC & DOE (Centers for Disease Control & Department of Education) have worked hand in hand since the onset of the Pandemic to guide the safe operation of schools through the same. This is the 22nd updated SOP since the original version was released on 8/26/2020. I share that to highlight that this is an ongoing process. Some (SOP) procedures are mandatory while others are recommended best practice, based on research. As advised by Drummond & Woodsum in a legal brief to Districts Statewide, districts can decide to strengthen the SOP and mandate certain recommendations, However, Districts may not ignore nor choose to not follow the required mandates of the CDC /DOE SOP. As an example, many Districts have increased the strength of the highly recommended strategy of masking by making masking universally mandated in their particular district. MSAD 70 did not mandate masks for the 2021-22 school year but continues to follow the highly recommended mask wearing recommendation found in the latest SOP (last year masking was mandated by the SOP in place then). There are some who perceive we can choose to not follow the CDC guidelines however, the truth is we can strengthen recommendations to District level mandates but cannot choose to lesson or ignore mandated portions of the SOP.
The new SOP version is below, and it is also highlighted to spotlight key changes. One of the most important changes in terms of school, is the reduction of both the isolation and quarantine periods from 10 days to 5 provided you are asymptomatic. However if you are COVID positive coming back, asymptomatic from isolation on day 6 ... you now must mask up from day 6 through 10 when in school ( more detail is in the attached SOP). Likewise, if you are a quarantined, close contact, asymptomatic and wish to return to school on day 6 you must mask through day 10 unless you have a qualified exemption (see page 4 of the 1/11/22. updated SOP for exemption details). The alternative for not masking in those specific mandated cases is to remain in isolation or quarantine for the entire 10 days.
Finally, I would highlight that pool testing, once a week offered at school (voluntary and parent approved) continues to offer all close contacts an exemption from quarantine (unless Covid Positive) which is the very purpose of pool testing (i.e. early detection).
As always your support for our schools and the safety of all is so appreciated by the MSAD # 70 school community,
Steve Fitzpatrick Supt. of Schools for MSAD # 70
Standard Operating Procedure - Covid 19 / Maine CDC
POOLED TESTING PROGRAM
Please consider registering your child for our voluntary Pooled Testing program by using the following link and access code.
Access Codes: HMHS - JTDKIG / Mill Pond School - NI4QWM
***Please complete the form by the Sunday before Tuesday pool testing to ensure having your child on the pool test list. If you had to sign up late, please call your child's school to ensure all newly registered students are on the pool testing list.