Dear Brunswick Staff, Students, and Families:
On 12/30/2021 the Maine CDC revised the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which guides how schools investigate and respond to positive COVID-19 cases. The revised SOP can be found here. This revision includes many changes. The Brunswick School Department medical team has reviewed the revised SOP and has advised the following which will take place effective January 4, 2022:
Masks are more important than ever. They will continue to be required in all Brunswick School Department facilities. Masks must fit properly and be worn over the mouth and nose. Individuals whose masks do not fit properly will be provided with a medical mask.
Staff and students should not come to school if they are experiencing symptoms regardless of their vaccination status. Please remember to monitor your/your student’s health and to stay home when you/they feel sick.
For staff and students who experience symptoms and have no known exposure to COVID-19, please follow this guidance based on the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics protocol:
Lower Risk Symptoms: headache, runny nose/congestion, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, fatigue, or muscle pain
Higher Risk Symptoms: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, fever 100.4 or higher, chills, shivering, or sore throat
For those experiencing one Lower Risk Symptom: return to school 24 hours after symptom is improving OR call your primary care provider if symptom does not improve after 24 hours.
For those experiencing two or more Lower Risk Symptoms or at least one Higher Risk Symptom: stay home for ten days then return after fever free without fever-reducing medication for 24 hours OR return to school after testing negative and sending test results showing student name, collection date, and result to the appropriate school nurse.
School nurses will continue to determine close contacts of individuals who test COVID-positive.
Individuals will no longer be considered close contacts if their exposure is only on a bus. All health and safety practices on buses–including use of sanitizer, seating charts, and maximized ventilation–will continue.
Individuals will no longer be considered close contacts if their exposure is only while outdoors. This includes outdoor exposure through athletics.
School nurses will notify close contacts through email if they were exposed and the date of the exposure.
Close contacts who are experiencing symptoms will be advised to be tested as soon as possible and required to quarantine from school and community activities until they have no more symptoms.
Close contacts who are not experiencing symptoms will be advised to be tested five days after the exposure. They may continue to attend and participate in school-based activities but should quarantine in the community for five days and wear a mask around others for ten days.
Individuals who test positive will continue to notify their school nurse as soon as possible. The nurse will contact positive individuals to provide further instructions and to determine close contacts. Positive individuals will have to quarantine for ten days after their exposure. However, if their symptoms are gone after day five they may return to school and wear a properly fitting mask.
Brunswick schools will now be considered in “Outbreak” status when at least 15% of staff and students are absent due to positive COVID-19 tests.
Home tests are a valuable tool for self-monitoring. However, the district cannot use home test information because home tests are not verified by a laboratory or accepted by the Maine CDC when reporting positive tests. Consequently, Brunswick School Department will still not accept the results of home tests. The district will continue to review this decision.
Pooled testing will continue to be an important tool in monitoring the health of staff and students and the school community as a whole. Pooled testing provides individuals with knowledge and peace of mind that allows them to make good decisions for their family, friends, and co-workers. It is simple and easy. It also provides access to COVID testing which is currently in short supply in the community. You can still register you or your children for pooled testing. The directions can be found here.
Vaccinations are still an important tool in preventing COVID-19 infections. Staff and students should get vaccinated and boosted when they are able.
The Maine CDC has indicated that they are still reviewing the SOP and that further revisions are forthcoming. We will share future revisions and their impact on Brunswick School Department procedures as they become available.
Thank you for your continued support.
Phillip J. Potenziano, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools