WATERVILLE — The Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to accept an updated school health plan in light of new guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Superintendent of Schools Peter Hallen said the CDC has shifted guidance language away from wording specific to COVID-19 to language that addresses respiratory viruses in general.

The updated plan encourages people to take personal responsibility by not coming to school when sick.

As part of the updated guidance, Hallen said, school staff members and students do not have to take part in previously required mitigation strategies and testing.

The board voted 7-0 to approve the 2023-24 health plan, which says Waterville Public Schools is committed to providing a safe, healthy environment for staff members, students and families. Plan updates, it says, were developed with input from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and state Department of Education. The plan provides a minimum standard of expectations and procedures.

“Because mitigation strategies like masking and social distancing are no longer required, we depend greatly on the cooperation of our staff, students and families to minimize the spread of respiratory viruses and other illnesses in our school communities,” the plan reads.

People are asked to stay home when they have signs of infectious illness, according to the plan. If a person has had a fever of at least 100 degrees, that person must be fever-free, without the use of fever-reducing medication, for at least 24 hours before returning to school.

While testing for COVID-19 is no longer required, the plan recommends that those with persistent or severe symptoms be referred to a health care provider for diagnosis and care.

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