Dear Parent or Guardian,
I am writing to inform you that the RSU 68 School Board voted at the February 15, 2022 meeting to move toward making SeDoMoCha Elementary and Middle School “mask-optional” as determined by the number of positive cases the week before. This new plan will begin on Monday, February 28, 2022. If the number of cases in a week’s time is 13 or below per school, masks will not be required. Over the last four weeks, cases have dropped consecutively from 38 to 28 to 21. We have had ten positive cases this week as of today, Thursday February 17, 2022. Mask determinations will be made weekly using the span of Saturday to Friday. We will determine our status on Friday and let parents know if there is a change. If there is no change, then parents can assume when not hearing from us that whatever we were doing the week before will continue. Face masks will still be required on buses as a Federal mandate until March 18, 2022.
This is an intermediary step for what is hoped to be another step moving forward in a positive manner. Of course, the decision to wear a mask during the “mask-optional” phase will reside with you and your child. Masks will be required for students returning from a five-day quarantine after testing positive or for a student exhibiting symptoms during the day while waiting to be picked up. It is still essential for the student to continue to check for symptoms of COVID each morning before arriving at school. The student should stay home if not feeling well and maintain 3-foot distancing in school.
It has been almost two years of remote learning, hybrid learning, and mask-required conditions. It has been a very long road with lots of twists and bends. But now, hospitalizations due to COVID illnesses have decreased, and students who have been testing positive have been asymptomatic or exhibited very mild symptoms. The time is now to take another step toward normalcy.
I thank you all for working with SeDoMoCha during the pandemic and I look forward to continuing to work together for the benefit of the students. We will reach out this afternoon with a Call-Em-All notification to let you know if we will be mask optional starting on February 28th.
Superintendent of Schools
Frequently asked questions….
Why is RSU 68 moving to a mask-optional model?
With hospitalizations in Maine continually decreasing, cases in the district decreasing, and Dr. Shah announcing that it was always a local decision for a school to require masks or not, it was decided that it was time, under local metrics, to move in this direction. COVID-19 is not going away, and we will continue to learn to live with it. Staff and students who wish to continue to wear a mask will be encouraged to do so.
Why doesn’t RSU 68 just go strictly maskless?
This step, using a metric to measure cases at SeDoMoCha, will be used and if an outbreak happens, will allow the district to quickly re-mask if necessary. With the decrease of hospitalizations in the State of Maine, it is felt that this is the time to return closer to normalcy.
Will RSU 68 make a weekly announcement about “mask-required” or “mask-optional”?
No. Unless there is a change in status. Then, an announcement will be made using email, Call-Em-All notification and social media. In the absence of an announcement, parents and students can assume the status has not changed. For example, on Friday, February 18th, if it is announced that SeDoMoCha is “mask-optional,” and there is no announcement on March 4th, this means both SES and SMS are mask-optional for the week of March 7th.
Are other steps in place to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19?
Yes. Students should continue to self-assess for symptoms of COVID-19 and if a student feels ill, they should stay home. Students still need to keep a three-foot distance from each other. Students will still be encouraged to wash their hands frequently. If a student feels ill at school, and with parent permission, they can get a COVID-19 test. It is also highly recommended that students receive their vaccination and obviously that is the parents’ decision.
What should I do if my student is sick?
Students should continue to self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms using the COVID-19 Pre-Screening tool for School Attendance. If your student has had a fever of 100.4 or higher within the last 24 hours, they should not attend school.
What should I do if my student tests positive for COVID-19?
Please keep your student home and call the school nurse to verify the test results. The nurse will confirm current isolation requirements and quarantine guidance over the phone and provide follow-up information by email.