Portland Students May Go Maskless Starting Next Monday

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Portland School Superintendent Xavier Botano Addressing a Crowd at a Rally at City Hall Several Years Ago.

Yesterday, Xavier Botano, Superintendent of Portland Public Schools, sent a letter home announcing that effective Monday, March 14, wearing masks indoors will be optional for Portland Public School’s staff and students.  “We feel safe making this change due to continued low cases district wide and guidance from the Maine Center for Disease Center, the Maine Department of Education and our district medical advisors.

There are two exceptions to this according to the letter dated March 8, 2022:  The first exception is that staff and students who test positive will be required to wear a mask if they return to school prior to the tenth day of quarantine.  The second exception is that anone entering one of the school-based health centers will be required to wear a mask in these spaces.

Other changes to some other COVID-19 precautions will be effective on March 14 as well.  They include: eliminating the indoor gathering limits; allowing increased visitor access, eliminating the requirement for a remote option for staff meetings and lifting restrictions on classroom and lunchroom configurations.  Water fountains will be turned on as soon as required testing is completed. Requirements for outdoor masking are being lifted right away.

State authorities have set today, Wednesday, March 9 as the day they are repealing their school masking requirements.  But Portland Public Schools are moving more cautiously because of “health and safety factors” still to consider as this change is made.

Superintendent Botana stated that masks for other staff and students are optional, which means that “anyone who wants to continue to wear a mask should do so.”  We will continue our pooled testing, hygeine and symptom checks and will keep on encouraging vaccinations.  All of these remain key tools that will allow us to continue to keep schools safe for students and staff.