FARMINGTON — Following state guidance, Regional School Unit 9 Superintendent Chris Elkington updated the Board of Directors on the district’s new COVID-19 policies at the Tuesday, Aug. 9, meeting.

The Maine Department of Education retired its Investigation of COVID-19 Cases in Pre-K-12 Schools Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) guide in June.

Moving forward, Elkington said the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Department of Education (DOE) have instructed RSU 9 to handle COVID-19 cases like “expectations for infectious diseases,” such as whooping cough or measles outbreaks, where “more than 20% of the students are out of the school.”

The federal CDC also issued changes on Aug. 11 which removed or changed certain recommendations, including a change in the “recommendation to conduct screening testing to focus on high-risk activities during high COVID-19 Community Level or in response to an outbreak” and the removal of “the recommendation to quarantine, except in high-risk congregate settings.”

Elkington said the district is expecting an influx in reported cases the day before the start of the 2022-23 school year.

He told the board that unless there are any major updates, the DOE is not likely to publish another SOP.


“We are going to be looking [at COVID-19] as we would with other infectious diseases moving forward, and it’ll be the same kind of reporting [of cases] and so forth,” Elkington said.

Elkington said there are still five items on COVID-19 guidance from the state.

Per the guidance, the district will continue a strict cleaning and disinfecting routine.

The district will continue recommending students and staff vaccinate against COVID-19. Additionally, the state has recommended RSU 9 continue collaborating with local health officials to offer vaccine clinics for students.

The district will follow guidance on instructing students about “hygiene and respiratory practices,” such as coughing into elbows, washing hands, etc.

RSU 9 will also continue with ventilation routines, projects with outdoor education and open windows, fans in rooms, etc.


The last practice recommended by the state is to enforce the practice of “staying home when sick.”

In regard to ventilation projects, Elkington said completion is “a ways away” due to workforce shortages and shortages in materials, systems, etc.

In April, Elkington told the Franklin Journal the district was using funds from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) grants for schools to respond to COVID-19 on new HVAC systems and the expansion of outdoor spaces.

Looking at outbreaks, Elkington said if more than 20% of students in one school are reporting COVID-19 infection, or a certain percentage of students are reporting infection from one sports team or bus, “that would be an area of concern that we would look at and talk to the Maine CDC.”

Elkington said he plans to make these guidances, as well as the changes, clear to parents in updates to be sent out in the coming days.

Comments are not available on this story.