News Spotlight

Update on Covid, Winter Athletics, Transportation | MSAD 15

To: MSAD 15 Community
From: Craig King, Superintendent
Date: November 27, 2021
Re: COVID-19 Mitigation and Prevention, Winter Athletics,
Transportation

I hope all of you have had a happy Thanksgiving break and have been able to spend time with friends and family. We will return to school Monday, November 29, 2021for in-person instruction. This leaves us eighteen school days committed to meaningful teaching and learning until we break for winter vacation on December 23, 2021.

MSAD 15 Strategic Goals 2021-2022:

Goal 1 – Uphold the health and safety of MSAD 15 students and staff. Goal 2 – Prioritize social and emotional well-being of students and staff. Goal 3 – Advance the academic growth and achievement of all students.

COVID-19 Mitigation and Prevention
Our three strategic goals for school-year 2021-22 have not changed. “Upholding the health and safety of MSAD 15 students and staff” is still our primary goal. Students, staff, and parents have done a great job in supporting this goal. However, there have been occasions where we may have let our guard down. Please allow me to elaborate on how we can stay on track.

There are several proven ways students, parents, and school employees can help keep schools open, in-person, five-days a week:

Stay home when sick: We have had students show up in all our schools daily who are sick. It is safer for the individual who is sick to stay home as it helps prevent the spread of all illnesses to other students and staff.

Vaccination: Consult your family physician or other family health provider for advice.

Pooled Testing Program: This program has resulted in early identification of 17 cases in the last ten school days. This early detection diagnosed these individuals before they started showing symptoms and helped prevent viral spread to other people.

Masks, Social Distancing, and Hand Sanitation: These prevention recommendations have been in place since the pandemic began. They have been cited by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIHS) as effective in preventing viral spread. These mitigation efforts are effective at school, home, and in the community.

Our students and staff have been very conscientious in abiding by the efforts we have in place to keep schools safe and healthy. We know staff and students are happier (and enjoy better mental health) when we are in school, in-person, five-days per week. It is worth the sacrifice and effort to keep us in school.

Pooled testing registration: https://msad15.org/health-services/

Ages 5-11 Vaccination Registration link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QTsKcisCRCFA9yWJh5pPBqm5CZMAEGx-/view

If you are uncertain about prevention and mitigation efforts or have specific questions, our school nurses are more than happy to speak to students, staff, or parents.

Russell SchoolShannon Newcombsnewcomb@sad15.org
Memorial SchoolMary Lou Chambersmchambers@sad15.org
Dunn SchoolTonia Gilley-Pratttgilley-pratt@sad15.org
Middle SchoolTracey Rosstross@sad15.org
High SchoolAngela Grafamgraf@sad15.org

MSAD 15 Athletic Guidelines | Winter 2021-22

General Statement: The adherence to recommended COVID-19 prevention and mitigation efforts represent our best path to keeping our schools in session, in-person, five days per week. We ask all members of the MSAD 15 community and our visiting guests to do their part to support our schools and student athletes. Failing to adhere to these guidelines jeopardizes our ability to provide our students the opportunities they deserve. MSAD 15 will offer a full complement of interscholastic athletics this winter at both the middle school and high school.

The following guidelines are in place to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes:

  1. Athletes and spectators are asked to self-screen for symptoms before arriving at the school.
  2. Athletes and spectators are asked to stay home if sick or displaying symptoms of any kind.
  3. Athletes who have symptoms should report these symptoms to the school nurse.
  4. Masks will be worn 100% of the time indoors by all athletes, spectators, and visiting teams.
  5. Masks will be worn 100% of the time on all buses.
  6. Masks will be worn by athletes 100% of the time when they are in other high school gyms or other indoor athletic venues.
  7. Each athletic team will have disinfectant kits and will follow the same athletic
    procedures that have been in place throughout the pandemic.
  8. Social distancing is encouraged as much as possible for spectators (three-feet distance is optimum).
  9. Hand sanitation is strongly encouraged, particularly when purchasing food at the concession area.
  10. The concession area will have designated seating to consume snacks; there is to be no food in the gymnasium.

Maine Principals’ Association (MPA) Winter Athletic Guidelines

Guidelines for individual sports are being reviewed and approved by the various Maine public health agencies and the Maine Department of Education (MDOE). Below is a statement from Dr. William Heinz, Chair of the MPA Sports Medicine Committee (SMAC), regarding the upcoming winter season:

Part of the mission of the MPA SMAC is to provide guidance to the MPA concerning the health and safety of students participating in interscholastic sports and activities. Team sports and other group extracurricular activities can increase the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission for students, coaches, referees, and staff, especially during indoor and close contact team sports. Considering this, the MPA SMAC continues to support the following recommendations for winter indoor sports and activities:

Vaccination of all eligible students and adults who are involved in these activities against COVID-19. Pooled screening testing of all indoor sport and activity participants (including students, coaches, administrators, and volunteers) for COVID-19 on a regular basis. Proper wearing of masks during all indoor sports and activities, including during practice and competition, team/group meetings and in the locker room. When possible, physical distancing of 1-meter (3.28 feet).

These recommendations are consistent with the current Maine CDC guidelines and are subject to change as more knowledge is obtained concerning the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Transportation
As you well know, a serious bus driver shortage has created difficult challenges for student transportation. As is typical in MSAD 15, our families have generously stepped forward to help with this problem. Area day care, after care, and recreation department personnel have also contacted the school district to offer help with this problem.

  1. The significant response from parents means we only have to change six bus routes.
  2. By noon, Monday November 29, 2021 new bus routes will be posted on our website: https://msad15.org/transportation If you have any questions about a new bus route or transportation in general, you may contact Transportation Supervisor, Peggy Bowden at: mbowden@sad15.org
  3. New bus routes will begin Wednesday, December 1, 2021.
  4. Buses will be full. All students and staff on buses are expected to wear masks (mouth and nose covered) 100% of the time as a measure against viral spread.

This has been a lengthy message full of important information. I appreciate all our students, families, and employees who work together for the success of our schools.

See you Monday!