November 16, 2020
I hope everyone is doing well. I very much appreciate your efforts thus far in making prudent decisions to keep our community safe. With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the state and country, and the holiday season fast approaching, I want to share a few important reminders along with some updates around NYA safety protocols and travel policies.
It is critical at this time that we not become complacent around wearing masks, social distancing, practicing good hand-hygiene, following travel guidelines, and making good decisions. While there is no guarantee that any efforts will fully eliminate the risk, closely following guidelines will greatly increase the safety of everyone in our community and decrease the risk of any future disruptions to in-person learning.
Travel: On November 4 and again on November 13, Governor Mills updated the list of states exempt from testing or quarantining when entering or re-entering Maine. Currently, only New Hampshire and Vermont are exempt. Keep an eye out for additional updates that may be released at any time. The following precautions are required for travel to non-exempt states and include some additional requirements for the NYA community based on the advice from medical professionals:
- Travelers entering or reentering Maine must quarantine for a period of 14 days or receive a negative COVID test.
- Negative COVID Test: NYA is now requiring a waiting period of five days between entering Maine and acquiring a test. The waiting period is an added precaution, and based on recent National CDC recommendations, designed to account for the period of time that may occur between exposure and an actual positive result. NYA generally requires a PCR test, but for questions on testing, you may reach out to NYA Health Services Coordinator, Ashley Moody. Please send copies (hard copy, scan, or fax – 207-846-8829) of negative tests to Ashley.
NYA requires that the children traveling also receive a test before ending quarantine, rather than just an adult in the family.
Even if you aren’t planning to travel during the holidays, please continue to utilize caution around holiday gatherings. Gatherings of all sizes can present risks. The Center for Disease Control has released the following guidelines and recommendations regarding holidays and small gatherings: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html
Finally, it is critical that we all make wise decisions to continue to keep one another safe. The Health and Safety Agreements signed by everyone prior to the school year are linked here for your review: Lower School, Middle and Upper Schools. They include some important reminders for each of us.
Thanksgiving should be a fun and celebratory time for us all, and I have great empathy for everyone as we try to make plans in this challenging environment. This update serves to emphasize some common practices and guidelines that will continue to keep us safe, in school, and pursing the activities that we all enjoy.
There are no guarantees on what the future holds, but we will continue to focus on an in-person experience and remain prepared to pivot if necessary. Thank you for all of your efforts, support, and commitment so far this year. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season.
Head of School