As we prepare for the upcoming spring break, I wanted to touch base to provide you with some updates of interest.
Earlier this week, the Mills Administration announced that pooled testing for COVID-19 in Maine schools will conclude in May, given its reduced effectiveness in limiting the spread of the new variant and the widespread availability of free and convenient at-home tests for students. The final week for schools to conduct pooled testing will be May 9-13, with the last set of results reported to schools by May 15.
The Maine Departments of Education and Health and Human Services will be making over 1 million at-home test kits available to all K-12 schools in the state. We have signed up for these and will have them available for future distribution as needed.
Like all schools in Maine, MSAD 44 buildings are being tested for the presence of lead in water. This new requirement is the result of recent legislation passed at the state level. At this point, we have received the results for the Telstar facility and some areas have been identified as having elevated lead counts. These tend to be faucets in some of the classrooms and these have been taken out of use until we receive further information about the steps that need to be taken to rectify this. The good news is that all of the bottle filling stations that our students use to hydrate were fine. You may recall that we used COVID grant funds to replace our water fountains with these stations at the very outset of the pandemic. All of the test results that we have received to date are posted on our website. These will continue to be updated as additional results from across the district become available. We are also mailing the building results out to all families who have children in each of the schools as they are received.
Thank you to those of you who were able to take some time to review the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund proposal that we posted on our website a few months ago. The finalized application has now been approved by the School Board and is in the process of being submitted to the Maine DOE. I will keep you posted on that process as it moves forward.
At Monday evening’s Board meeting, it was announced that Friday, June 17 will be the last day of the school year. It will be a half day of school. In addition, the School Board approved the 2022-2023 school calendar and that is now posted on the website.
Thank you for your continued support of our school district. Best wishes for a Happy Easter and a great spring break!
Dave Murphy, Ed.D., MSAD 44 Superintendent of Schools