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Superintendent: Masks in Sanford Schools to Become Optional Beginning 3/9

March 3, 2022

Dear Students, Staff and Families,

Yesterday, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Maine
Department of Education (DOE) announced an upcoming change to the Standard Operating
Procedures (SOPs). Effective March 9, 2022, Maine school units and child care
providers will move to optional masking. The announcement shared that the “change is
dependent on continued stability in COVID-19 trends in Maine.”

At the next Sanford School Committee meeting on Monday, March 7, 2022, I will be
recommending that the School Committee approve updating our 2021-2022 Return to School
Plan making masks/ face coverings optional to align with the updated SOP. Effective
Wednesday, March 9, students and staff who wish to continue to mask for any reason are
most certainly welcome to do so until further notice. The following procedures will be in place
to ensure everyone is safe based on the newly updated guidance:

  • Continued masking will be optional for both students and staff. KN95 masks continue to be available in schools.
  • Pooled testing will continue
  • A positive test will require a five (5) day quarantine from the date of symptom onset or from the date of the positive test if no symptoms.
  • Masking will be required for an additional five (5) days after release from quarantine and a return to school (days 6-10).
  • The Sanford School Department will continue to monitor the following data points:
    • CDC community transmission maps
    • Wastewater COVID levels
    • Pooled Testing Results
    • County Transmission Data
    • Absentee data
    • Vaccination Rates

It is important to note that we will continue to maintain our other COVID-19 mitigation
measures and emphasize that students and staff do not attend school if they are feeling ill.

In addition, I would remind the community that we must remain mindful that each child, staff
member or family will make the decision on masking that they feel is best for them. We all
need to be respectful of these decisions. We expect some students and staff to struggle with
this change. | ask that we all continue to model understanding, compassion and civility as we
make this transition.

We are sharing this news with families as quickly and responsibly as we possibly can to allow
individual families to make a decision on masking that they feel is best for their child. We will
continue to consult with our healthcare professionals, Maine DOE, Maine DHHS, and Centers
for Disease Control and update families when appropriate.

Thank you for your continued support throughout this entire pandemic.

Matt Nelson
Superintendent of Schools

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