Letter from MEA President, Grace Leavitt to members-8/3/2021
While there is still a good deal of summer left, many are asking what the next academic year will look like. As you are likely aware, the US CDC and the Maine CDC have recommended masks for all individuals ages 2 and up in schools this fall. Following the science, MEA’s Board of Directors met and took the following position below, and sent this position to the Maine Superintendents’ Association (Superintendents and School Boards), the Maine Principals Association, and the Maine Department of Education:

The MEA Board of Directors continues to prioritize the safety of students and of educators during the 2021-2022 academic year and knows the importance of providing equitable opportunities for our students to have in-person learning while acknowledging that students under the age of 12 are not yet eligible to receive a vaccine. Therefore, the Board believes that all school boards and school administrators of pre-K-12 school districts and the Boards of Trustees for the University of Maine System and for the Community Colleges should follow, at a minimum, all of the recommendations of the experts at the Maine Center for Disease Control.  Furthermore, school boards, administrators, and boards of trustees should work with educators in all roles in developing plans for the academic year in order to formulate the best plans so that educators have a safe, supportive environment in which to teach and work, and students have a safe, supportive environment in which to learn and be successful. Additionally, as recommendations and/or requirements from the Maine CDC evolve, educators should be included in revising such plans as the need arises and as may be warranted by changing conditions.

While the reporting of vaccination rates is a requirement, the recommendations for the mitigation strategies such as wearing masks, etc., are just that—recommendations.  Each school district will be making decisions regarding these recommendations.