As I send this update, I also want to emphasize that our first priority in the Brewer School Department is to keep everyone healthy and at school. This means quarantining people who have a positive COVID-19 test while also doing everything we can to keep the schools open.
Having said that, the Maine Center for Disease Control (MCDC) has released additional modifications to their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) document that sets out the rules for how we operate during the pandemic. This is the 5th adjustment to these rules this school year.
I recently sent a summary of the new SOP that came out in late December, 2021, and am including a link to that explanation again, here -- https://5il.co/13r9y
I have now created a new summary of the additional rules that came out on. January 11, 2022, and I am linking this explanation, here -- https://5il.co/14ar8
In this newest set of rules we received clarification that in order to be considered a district that universally masks, all student athletes must be fully masked while engaged in a competition. This goes for our musicians and theater students. As long as it is a school-related activity we have to have students masked.
This is important because if a district practices universal masking then they do not have to quarantine any close contacts who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. This means hundreds of Brewer students who are considered close contacts can remain in school because we have universal masking instead of being put into quarantine and missing school. Therefore, based on these additional rules from the MCDC we need to make these adjustments.
Other changes are explained in the summary linked above.
We have seen an increase in cases since returning from break. This week Brewer High School (BHS) had 4 positive pools out of 19, which is the highest number of positive pools at the school so far this year. From this, individual testing of people in those pools uncovered 4 positive individuals who will spend at least five days in quarantine. The high school has had close to 30 positive individuals identified this week, most by families reaching out to the school nurse.
Brewer Community School had 13 positive pools from Tuesday's testing, and one labeled "indeterminate", which means we also need to test all the individual in that pool. Of these pools, after testing every individual at school today, 14 positives were discovered. There have been 43 positives individuals identified this week at BCS , again mostly by families reaching out to the school nurse. This cooperation and help has been really important and appreciated.
Brewer High School is running another booster clinic on Friday, and we are working to see if our local medical partners can do the same for 12 to 15 years olds at BCS. We will reach out with those details as we find out more.
Thanks and I hope that you and your family are safe and doing well.
Gregg Palmer, Superintendent