Two weeks ago, parents in MSAD 58 learned that mask-wearing would be optional in all of our K-12 schools, including for children 11 and under who aren’t able to get vaccinated. Since that time, many concerned parents have been looking into this decision, and what we’ve discovered since then is deeply troubling:
The district made this decision without consulting with the school physician, or any other doctor or public health expert.
The Superintendent has been telling parents that MSAD 58 is following the CDC guidelines, even though the Maine CDC confirmed that optional masking was NOT their recommendation to schools.
The district made no plan for parents who want their children masked; students arrive masked on the bus, and are then at liberty to unmask, even if their parents want them protected, because the district never asked parents to indicate their preference, nor put into place any way for teachers to be able to enforce parent wishes. This means that children as young as 5 can choose to unmask, even if their parents want them protected.
Since our schools are not requiring masks, our students will be subject to the same disruptive 10-day quarantine requirements as last year; if we had mandated masks, our kids would be able to stay in school.
Maine is currently facing infection rates as high as last January, and community transmission is at its highest levels in Franklin county. Maine hospitals are running out of ICU beds, and FMH has already had to re-implement visitor restrictions because of the surge in cases.
These alarming facts have only deepened parent concerns over the lack of Covid-19 safety compliance in our schools. Not only are we ignoring the recommendations of the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, we are implementing a poorly thought-out plan that had no input from health experts of any kind.
If you are an MSAD 58 resident, or a loved one of an MSAD 58 student, and would like the Board of Directors to re-visit this decision, please sign your name at bit.ly/3jLO5pE. The Board meets again on the 16 of September, and community input can help them prioritize child safety over convenience.