RSU 9 school nurses update Board of Directors

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FARMINGTON – The RSU 9 board tuned into several presentations on Tuesday night.

The RSU 9 nurses alongside the Director of Curriculum, Laura Columbia, presented to the board their evolving COVID-19 response procedures.

When a student or a staff member tests positive for COVID-19 they immediately begin contact tracing and enter into contact with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. They look for where the positive case has been and who they have been in close contact with up to two days prior to receiving the test. W. G. Mallet School Nurse, Kathyrn Clement, spoke to the board.

“We work on our verification, who was the positive person? When were they last in school? When did they have symptoms and when were they tested? All of that lets us know who may have been affected,” Clement said. “We trace back two days prior to symptoms. So it’s a lot of data gathering.”

Every week the school nurses have a session with the state School Nurse Consultant, Emily Poland. She also feeds the nurses daily updates.

“We get information from her almost on a daily basis…on the way testing is done, things we can and can’t be doing in the schools, updates on which masks are appropriate. All of that gets passed to us and we bring that to our building administrators and central office administrators,” District Nurse Coordinator, Janneke Strickland, said.

Athletic Director, Chad Brackett, presented a winter sports plan to the board should Franklin County become a yellow zone. The county is currently considered a green zone.

Superintendents and administrators in yellow counties with support from the Maine School Superintendent Association created a list of suggested guidelines for school athletics.

“No more than two competitions may be scheduled in any week for individual teams, no team with an open case of COVID-19 among its personnel will participate in competition with other schools. If your district is in remote learning, playing games and holding practices would be a local decision,” Brackett said. “Superintendents and athletic directors should meet weekly and strong lines of communication should be maintained between districts.”

The board adopted these guidelines preemptively should Franklin County become classified as a yellow county.

The board also heard from Susan Pratt, who gave an update regarding Corona Relief Fund and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding.

So far the district has completed four grants amounting to about 5.7 million dollars and is in line to receive another grant for 2.4 million.

These grants have gone towards buying devices for remote learning and safety measures. The measures have included changes to facilities to allow for proper social distancing and ventilation.

Pratt clarified that grant money cannot be used in any way to offset the school budget.

“We have to sign on the dotted line that absolutely nothing that we bought is a budgetary item for the district. They do have to be above and beyond our normal operation budgets,” said Pratt.

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