FARMINGTON – The Mt. Blue board discussed contact tracing and quarantine guidelines for students at their meeting on Tuesday, September 14.
Superintendent Chris Elkington said he had been told it was “not clear to parents” what the expectations were for the quarantine and continued education.
“We were going to watch the kids who quarantined, anywhere from 5 to 7 days, that we would watch a student [as though they had] chickenpox and give them that extra support, ”Elkington said.
Since the start of the school year, 10 people across the district have tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in 173 close contacts, according to health notices from the superintendent’s office.
Although there were 173 close contacts, the council clarified that some of those people may be exempt from quarantine.
Elkington said the district will not be offering a “remote, dual platform” option to attend classes, as they did last year.
“It was extremely difficult and for the children who were at home, a lot of homes were not able to access the Internet,” Elkington said.
Elkington said the central office will work to clarify education expectations by early next week.
Currently, the district’s quarantine guidelines are aligned with those of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Education.
Due to the Universal Masking Mandate, all students within 3 feet of a positive case must be quarantined for 10 days unless:
• Close contact has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for more than 14 days.
• Close contact previously tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of exposure.
• The close contact participates in joint weekly tests in the school and the exhibition was an exhibition at the school.
However, close contacts outside of these 3 feet should be quarantined if exposure occurs in buses, cafeterias, and school sponsored activities.
Close contacts who need to be quarantined should also test for COVID-19 immediately and again 5-7 days after exposure.
Curriculum director Laura Columbia said the district is considering getting its own rapid tests and training nurses on the tests. For now, she has recommended locations that offer free testing, including Walgreens and Franklin Memorial Hospital.
In other cases, the council kicked off the district’s strategic planning process by hiring facilitator Mary Jane McCalmon.
Elkington previously described a district’s strategic plan as describing a 10-year plan for “where we think the district should go and for what we think an RSU 9 student should leave us.” This has an impact on necessary upgrades in academics, for the development of socio-emotional skills, for district facilities, technology, etc.
McCalmon will begin the process by conducting outreach activities in the RSU 9 community.
“You want to make sure it’s a process that includes the voices of as many people as possible in the community,” McCalmon said.
McCalmon will form a 12-member strategic planning team who are different stakeholders in the district – parents, staff, other childless members in the district, etc.
“They will be overseeing the whole process by the end of the school year,” McCalmon said.
McCalmon, who has been helping Maine districts with their strategic planning process for “a number of years,” said the plan will include two elements of action: “where are we going and how are we going to get there.”
The council also approved a motion to relocate the district central office, which includes the superintendent’s office, special education department, business and operations and management office to a separate office space on the Mt. Blue campus. .
The move and subsequent expenses for the approved 32-34 months are expected to cost $ 120-130,000 and will be paid for from Emergency Relief Grant funds for Elementary and Secondary III schools.
Elkington said the move would make more space for the Foster Career and Technical Education center programs, among other programs.