FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 set its COVID-19 policies for the 2022-23 school year at the Board of Director’s Aug. 23 meeting.

The relaxed guidelines, in accordance with new policies from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Department of Education are as follows:

• Masking is optional for staff and students, unless they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are a self-identified close contact.

• Students and staff are required to follow the daily health screener, which recommends staying home if they have at least one more-common symptom or at least two less-common symptoms.

• Positive cases (regardless of vaccination status) must isolate at home for five days with the possibility of staying home longer upon recommendation from a school nurse if symptoms continue; mask for the following six to 10 days while indoors.

• Self-identified close contacts must wear a mask while indoors in school or at RSU 9 events for 10 days.


• Quarantining is no longer required if symptom free per CDC guidelines.

• Rapid testing is available for staff and students if they present symptoms.

• Spacing recommendations have been lifted, normal procedures in classrooms and cafeterias will resume.

• Recommendations for athletics, such as previously-required pool testing and universal masking, have been lifted with a return to normal procedures.

The district also issued a list of operational prevention strategies.

Those strategies include recommendations to stay up to date with vaccinations, stay home when sick and practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette; focusing on ventilation to “improve air quality” and “reduce the risk of germs and contaminants spreading”; and continuing with district cleaning and disinfection practices for heavy-use services.


During the meeting, Director of Curriculum Laura Columbia said “families are most concerned about masking, isolation, quarantine, basically, ‘when can my kid come to school? And can they not?'”

As for close contacts, Columbia said the district is no longer doing close contact tracing. They are now following an “honor system” where families, students and staff are expected to self-identify as close contacts.

Previously the district was directing a lot of time and resources to contact tracing and informing individuals when they were a close contact – exposed to someone who tested positive for fifteen minutes by being within six feet of them for over 15 minutes.

In January, the CDC suspended contact-tracing procedures because of a surge in cases and subsequent issues with contact tracing COVID-19 due to the then-dominant, highly-transmittable Omicron variant.

The district then shifted to informing all staff and students if they shared a classroom or bus with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.

With the new policy, Columbia said it’s up to the parents, guardians of a student who tested positive or was exposed  to COVID-19 to reach out to family members of students who may share a classroom or have had playdates with their child.


“We will not be doing any reporting to families of that nature,” she said.

Though there will no longer be contact tracing, the district will return to reporting procedures instituted in the spring. With these procedures the district updates an online case count every Friday for the preceding week, broken down by each school with a cumulative case count for the whole year.

Elkington clarified the district will work with the CDC and DOE if there is a concentrated surge in cases, perhaps on a specific bus or in a classroom.

Columbia recommended any families confused over the new guidelines contact school nurses for advice.

“COVID is not always simple. Symptoms can be odd, it can last longer,” Columbia said. “So we always, always say, ‘call your school nurse if you have individual questions, and they can walk you through it.'”

More information on RSU 9’s COVID-19 guidelines and the case count can be found at

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