March 17, 2022
Dear Students and Families,
I hope you are doing well and enjoying some time off during school vacation. Ahead of our return from school break, I am writing with some important updates regarding NYA’s COVID-19 Health and Safety guidelines.
As of Monday, March 21, the use of masks will be optional in all school buildings. This decision was reached for several reasons including updated U.S. CDC guidance for masks in indoor settings, the rescission of Governor Mills’ recommendations for universal masking within schools, the continued downward trend of cases in our school and surrounding communities, and consultation with other area schools.
Some students, faculty, and staff members may choose to continue to wear masks in indoor and outdoor settings. We recognize that there are many reasons individuals may choose to do this including health concerns for them or loved ones or personal preference. It is our expectation and belief that everyone will be respectful of these individual decisions.
Since the onset of the pandemic, NYA’s primary goal has been to protect the health and safety of our community and to keep our students in class and engaged in activities. This guideline change also represents an important step towards the goal of further normalizing the school experience for our students. That said, we will continue to monitor updated federal and state guidance along with community spread data. Changes in conditions could prompt a return of the universal masking requirement at any time.
Our students, families, and staff have been extremely flexible and supportive throughout this pandemic. Your vigilance has been critical to keeping NYA open for in-person learning during the last two years, and we greatly appreciate this. The virus is still present in our community, however, and I ask for your continued cooperation as we take any further steps to limit community spread.
We ask for your continued support with the following guidelines and expectations:
- NYA will continue with pooled testing, beginning with a special round of testing on Monday, March 21. We will resume regular pooled testing each Thursday this spring. This is an important step in continuing to monitor and limit spread within the community.
- Each family should make their own decisions around masks for their children. KN95 masks have been shown to have significant benefits for the wearer.
- There is naturally a higher risk associated with travel. If you have traveled either domestically or internationally and returned to Maine within five days of NYA’s return from break, we ask that you test yourself at home prior to returning to school. No proof of this test is required. It is simply on the honor system and will be a helpful tool in eliminating or limiting post vacation spread.
- We follow guidance as appropriate for isolation periods after a positive test and quarantines after a close contact. Complete guidelines may be found on NYA’s COVID-19 page.
- Based on CDC recommendations, if someone in your household tests positive, you should continue to wear a mask while indoors and at school for a period of 10 days even if fully vaccinated.
- Continue to self-screen at home. If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID please remain at home and take an at-home test.
- We recommend that eligible individuals get vaccinated and stay up-to-date with vaccines and boosters. To be fully vaccinated and up-to-date, an individual must have received all recommended doses in their primary series and a booster shot within six months of their final dose.
We will keep you updated with spread in our community and any changes in guidelines. We look forward to seeing everyone on Monday. Again, thank you for your continued support.
Head of School