Dr. Marc Gousse the AOS 91 Superintendent sent out the following message to Parents and Families on Monday, September 21st outlining changes in the Employee COVID-19 testing program.

Dear Parents and Families

I am writing to provide an update regarding the voluntary testing of MDIRSS school staff for COVID-19

These are very dynamic times we are navigating, and it requires fluid changes to occur as we work on planning and preparedness for our school district during this Pandemic. As such we are revising the original plan for broad asymptomatic COVID-19 testing with the school department based on local and regional health experts. As we continue to monitor the positivity rates in Hancock County, and specifically on and around Mount Desert Island, the planning and response for testing of staff members for COVID-19 is an ongoing effort; our main objective is the health and well-being of our students and staff members. The vigilance and effort that our community has done to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is phenomenal, such that we have one of the lowest positivity rates in the State of Maine

This positivity rate is important when framing the best protocol for testing of our staff members while managing the preservation of precious supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and testing supplies should our positivity rate increase. In consideration of this information and based upon the review of current local/regional health data, local medical professionals and health experts have recommended the school department amend its plan and test asymptomatic staff if we start to see a substantial increase in the community positivity rate.

The leadership of the school department will continue to work with local and regional experts to monitor changes in positivity rates to ensure we are prepare and flexible to implement an asymptomatic testing program if and when needed. As always, MDI Hospital is committed to managing and testing individuals who are symptomatic and will continue to be a resource for the staff, student and families of our community.

Our continued focus and efforts will be to work with our community partners at the Jackson Laboratory, MDI Hospital and the Downeast COVID-19 Taskforce as resources to aid in reviewing and reassessing our testing plan for necessary changes, provide educational opportunities to our staff and work collaboratively for additional funding to continue to keep our community healthy and safe.

In closing I wish to reiterate the most important things we can all do to minimize exposure and spread of COVID-19 are as follows

  • Wear a mask
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Stay home if you are symptomatic or ill an contact your healthcare provider

Please contact me should you have any questions. Thank you for your continued support of our students, staff and schools

Sincerely

Marc Edward Gousse