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Mask-Optional Plan


TIMELINE:  When Would We Be Able to Implement a Mask-Optional Plan?

  • Should the below criteria be met, we will begin implementation of mask-optional policy on Thursday, March 10, 2022. This timeline ensures we can finalize support plans for our vulnerable staff, students, and families, as well as work with staff and students to cultivate a culture of respect for individual choices. 


CRITERIA:  What Criteria Will We Use to Determine a Shift to Mask-Optional? And what criteria will we use to determine a need to return to required masking?

  • Initial Implementation of Mask-Optional Policy

    • Per Maine DOE/DHS/CDC

    • US CDC Level of moderate or low

    • No increase in Falmouth Schools case rate in 10 days following February Break

  • Reinstatement of Required Masking Recommended

    • School case rates increase at a rate that is significantly concerning to health services team, are considered to be in outbreak status, or jeopardize operational status; AND/OR Maine CDC issues guidance

COMPONENTS:  What Does Mask-Optional Actually Mean?

  • All staff, students, and community members can wear a mask based on personal preference; informed by personal level of risk, inside the schools and on school buses.

  • Respect for individual choices will be expected of all students, staff, and community members.

  • Requirements for isolation of infected individuals remain in place, and individuals who return to school after completing required isolation must wear a face covering per CDC rules.

  • People with symptoms or exposure to someone with COVID-19 are encouraged to wear a mask.

  • Any individual who tests positive for COVID-19 during the school day will be required to wear a mask until they are dismissed.

  • All students and staff who request a mask will be provided access to a KN95, KN94 or surgical mask.

  • School staff will not be responsible for enforcing mask wearing.  

  • We will continue to monitor CDC Community levels, wastewater indicators, school case numbers, and variants of concern to inform our response.

  • District cases will continue to be reported to the community.

PROTECTION:  What Choices Can We Continue to Make to Promote District Health?

  • Supporting mask-wearing for individuals who may choose to do so.  The American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations for Families points to persons who may consider masking even if not required: 

    • If their child is between ages 2 and 5 and currently ineligible for COVID-19 vaccine

    • If their child is immunocompromised and may not have a protective immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine, or is at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness

    • If their child is not immunized

    • If other members of their family are at higher risk of severe disease or are not immunized

    • If they live in a community with “high” COVID-19 transmission

  • Providing information about vaccinations, which are considered the best protection against severe illness from COVID-19

  • Participating in pooled testing as a helpful safety and surveillance tool for our schools. We are expanding this offering to all students K-12

  • Continuing to follow the daily screener, staying home if sick, and respecting dismissals based on illness 

  • Maintaining ventilation systems, including the 02 Prime Ionization installed in each school last school year

  • Encouraging hand hygiene and providing access to sanitation supplies

  • Continuing to limit visitors - All visitors will be required to pass a health screener before entering the building.

Additional Resources/Information

Development Process

02/28/2022: School Board Meeting [presentation

03/01/2022: Leadership Team Meeting & Situation Room Meetings

  • Reviewed updated guidance and data

  • Drew on discussions started in early February to develop plan draft

  • Identified steps to engage staff & students, elicit questions

3/02/2022 - 3/04/2022 PLANNING: 





IEP & 504 Family Collaboration

Nurses + Admin identify students & reach out to families to discuss accommodation options 

Nurses + Admin identify students & reach out to families to discuss accommodation options 

Nurses + Admin identify students & reach out to families to discuss accommodation options 


Create contact lists of admin/support staff to share with community

Create contact lists of admin/support staff to share with community

Create contact lists of admin/support staff to share with community





Staff Collaboration

Discussion in all grade level meetings this week

Discussion in team meetings this week

Staff discussion on Wednesday

Staff with individual concerns

Discussions with Principals/nurses

Discussions with Principals/nurses

Discussions with Principals/nurses


FLAG Team/FEA Leadership/Situation Room





Student Collaboration


Student council meeting Thursday

Student council meeting Thursday

Student Awareness/ Instruction

Morning Meetings week of 3/7

Crew meetings w/admin & advisory Lesson week of 3/7

Assemblies Tues. led by admin 



Classroom Conversations, assemblies, follow up with staff/families