December 17, 2021
After the winter break, as a pre-emptive measure, Alexander Elementary will implement universal masking for all individuals (including students and staff) while in the building effective January 3, 2022 until further notice.
Since September, a steady rise in area COVID cases and exposures has contributed to an increasing number of quarantines and missed school days for students. In many, but not all situations, this extra measure alone will help keep more students in school.
Per the current Maine DOE Standard Operating Procedures for K-12 schools, with universal masking:
Students who would be considered close contacts to a COVID case in the classroom are no longer required to quarantine when the student close contact was at least 3 feet from an infected person and no direct physical contact occurred. This exception does not apply to exposure on the school bus, cafeteria, or school sponsored activities (in these cases the ‘within 6 feet for 15 minutes rule’ still applies).
It is important to note that at this time, exposures to COVID occurring outside of school (i.e. at home or at community events) still require close contacts to quarantine. Regardless of masking, individuals who are positive with COVID-19 are still required to isolate themselves and quarantine from school and the community according to CDC guidelines.
Consistent with practices last school year, mask breaks will occur during the day and mask wearing will not be required while outside or when the student is at least 6 feet away from another individual such as while eating. Exemptions from masking can only be made for documented medical conditions.
We ask that starting January 3, 2022, students bring their own cloth masks daily and at least one extra. The school is able to provide a limited number of cloth masks for students in need.
As we add universal masking to our toolkit, coupled with the pooled testing program, the benefits to all members of the school community are realized by helping to reduce the number of quarantines from COVID exposure and ultimately keep more students in school.
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