May 19, 2021
On Monday, May 16, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) in coordination with the Maine DHHS released updated health and safety standard operating procedures for schools. In these guidelines, the DOE reiterated that recent federal and state changes to mask mandates do not apply to schools. However, some changes were made in regard to mask policies in schools and other safety procedures. These changes are outlined below:
- The most significant change is wearing masks will be optional in outdoor settings for students, faculty, staff, and guests on campus, effective immediately. Prior to this update, masks were still required outdoors, where six feet of distancing could not be maintained. This requirement has been removed by the Maine DOE.
- While outside, it is still important students continue to observe six feet of distancing while eating or drinking, seated with peers, or in a classroom setting. This is important both to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 and to help with contact tracing. Maintaining distances of six feet will significantly decrease the need to quarantine students as close contacts. It is our goal to keep as many students in school as possible over the last three weeks of the school year.
- Recent state and federal changes to the indoor mask mandates do not apply to schools. Masks must be worn indoors at all times by students, faculty, staff, and any guests whether or not they have been vaccinated. Eating and drinking is the only exception to the mask requirement indoors. When eating and drinking, six feet of distancing must be maintained.
- The MPA has not adjusted guidelines for athletics, and those policies remain in place at this time. Wearing masks is now optional for spectators at outdoor athletic events.
This updated guidance was shared with students today. Again, I would like to thank you for all of your support and patience as we have navigated these guidelines during the pandemic. Although there are many positives signs with cases decreasing and vaccinations on the rise, we need to remain vigilant. It has been our goal to keep our students in school and engaged throughout the school year, and we are hopeful for a successful final few weeks of the school year.
Head of School
If you have questions specific to this case at NYA, please contact Ashley Moody, NYA Health Services Coordinator.
For general COVID-19 questions, dial 211 (or 1-866-811-5695). You can also text your ZIP code to 898-211 or email email@example.com. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, call a health care provider. More information can be found at www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.