Regional School Unit 40

Inspiring students to achieve life-long success.

COVID-19 Guidance

This framework is guided by the following principles:

No single action or set of actions will completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19 transmission, but taken together, the following health and safety recommendations can greatly reduce that risk. This information represents district guidance as of August 2022 and will be updated as new information becomes available.

Staying Up To Date on Vaccinations

Staying up to date on routine vaccinations is essential to prevent illness from many different infections. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect eligible people from getting severely ill with COVID-19. For COVID-19, staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations is the leading public health strategy to prevent severe disease. Not only does it provide individual-level protection, but high vaccination coverage reduces the burden of COVID-19 on people, schools, healthcare systems, and communities.

Staying Home When Sick

People who have symptoms of respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, such as cough, fever, sore throat, vomiting, or diarrhea, should stay home. Testing is recommended for people with symptoms of COVID-19 as soon as possible after symptoms begin. People who are at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 who test positive should consult with a healthcare provider right away for possible treatment, even if their symptoms are mild. Staying home when sick can lower the risk of spreading infectious diseases, including COVID-19, to other people. For more information on staying home when sick with COVID-19, including recommendations for isolation and mask use for people who test positive or who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, see Isolate If You Are Sick.


We have made significant improvements and continue to work to optimize ventilation and maintain improvements to indoor air quality to reduce the risk of germs and contaminants spreading through the air. Air filtration, window repairs and replacements, fans, and portable air cleaners help improve ventilation in all of our schools.

Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

Washing hands can prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We teach and reinforce proper handwashing to lower the risk of spreading viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19. Schools monitor and reinforce these behaviors, especially during key times in the day (for example, before and after eating, after using the restroom, and after recess) and also provide adequate handwashing supplies, including soap and water. We also provide hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizers are stored up, away, and out of sight of younger children and are used only with adult supervision for children ages 5 years and younger.

Also, schools teach and reinforce covering coughs and sneezes to help keep individuals from getting and spreading infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

Cleaning and Disinfection

Schools clean surfaces at least once a day to reduce the risk of germs spreading by touching surfaces. For more information, see Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility.

COVID-19 Community Levels and Associated Prevention Strategies

CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels help communities and individuals make decisions about what COVID-19 prevention strategies to use based on whether their community is classified as low, medium, or high. These levels take into account COVID-19 hospitalization rates, healthcare burden, and COVID-19 cases. Recommendations outlined for the COVID-19 Community Levels are the same for schools as those for the community. Schools that serve students from multiple communities should follow prevention recommendations based on the COVID-19 Community Level of the community in which the school is located.

We work with local health officials to consider other local conditions and factors when deciding to implement prevention strategies. School indicators—such as rates of absenteeism among students and staff or presence of students or staff who are at risk of getting very sick with COVID-19—can help with decision-making. Additional community-level indicators that might be considered for use in decision-making about COVID-19 prevention are pediatric hospitalizations, results from wastewater surveillance, or other local information.

When the COVID-19 Community Level indicates an increase, particularly if the level is high or the school is experiencing an outbreak, schools consider adding layered prevention strategies, described below, to maintain safe, in-person learning. Although most strategies are recommended to be added or increased at a high COVID-19 Community Level, schools might consider adding layers when at medium, such as those in the Considerations for Prioritizing Strategies section below, based on school and community characteristics.

When the COVID-19 Community Level moves to a lower category or after resolution of an outbreak, schools consider removing prevention strategies one at a time, followed by close monitoring of COVID-19 transmission within the school and the COVID-19 Community Level of their community in the weeks that follow.


Masks will remain optional in RSU 40 schools until or unless the State of Maine and/or the Maine Department of Education declares a health emergency. However, masks are required indoors for days 6 through 10 for individuals testing positive for COVID-19 upon returning from isolation or until individuals test negative on two antigen tests taken 48 hours apart.

Wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator consistently and correctly reduces the risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. At a high COVID-19 Community Level, universal indoor masking in schools is recommended, as it is in the community at-large. CDC also recommends masking at all times in healthcare settings, including school nurses’ offices, regardless of the current COVID-19 Community Level. People who have known or suspected exposure to COVID-19 should also wear a well-fitting mask or respirator around others for 10 days from their last exposure, regardless of vaccination status or history of prior infection.

Anyone who chooses to wear a mask or respirator should be supported in their decision to do so at any COVID-19 Community Level, including low. At a medium and high COVID-19 Community Level, people who are immunocompromised or at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 should wear a mask or respirator that provides greater protection Since wearing masks or respirators can prevent spread of COVID-19, people who have a household or social contact with someone at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 (for example, a student with a sibling who is at risk) may also choose to wear a mask at any COVID-19 Community Level. Our schools have flexible, non-punitive policies and practices to support individuals who choose to wear masks regardless of the COVID-19 Community Level.

Our schools make reasonable modifications when necessary to ensure that all students, including those with disabilities, are able to access in-person learning. Schools might need to require masking in settings such as classrooms or during activities to protect students with immunocompromising conditions or other conditions that increase their risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 in accordance with applicable federal, state, or local laws and policies. For more information and support, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Disability Rights webpage. Students with immunocompromising conditions or other conditions or disabilities that increase risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 should not be placed into separate classrooms or otherwise segregated from other students.

Because mask use is not recommended for children ages younger than 2 years and may be difficult for very young children or for some children with disabilities who cannot safely wear a mask, schools may consider other prevention strategies—such as improving ventilation and avoiding crowding—when the COVID-19 Community Level is medium or high or in response to an outbreak.

For more information about masks please visit Types of Masks and Respirators.

Diagnostic Testing

Schools may offer diagnostic testing for students and staff with symptoms of COVID-19 or who were exposed to someone with COVID-19, or refer them to a community testing site, healthcare provider, or to use an at-home test. Each COVID-19 test with an emergency use authorization (EUA) has a minimum age requirement. Schools only use tests that are appropriate for the person being tested.

Screening Testing

Screening testing identifies people with COVID-19 who do not have symptoms or known or suspected exposures, so that steps can be taken to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

CDC no longer recommends routine screening testing in K-12 schools. However, at a high COVID-19 Community Level, K-12 schools can consider implementing screening testing for students and staff for high-risk activities (for example, close contact sports, band, choir, theater); at key times in the year, for example before/after large events (such as prom, tournaments, group travel); and when returning from breaks (such as, holidays, spring break, at the beginning of the school year). In any screening testing program, testing should include both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Schools serving students who are at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19, such as those with moderate or severe immunocompromise or complex medical conditions, can consider implementing screening testing at a medium or high COVID-19 Community Level. The type of viral test used can vary and includes over the counter or at-home testing (self-testing), point-of-care rapid testing, or laboratory testing. Schools that choose to rely on at-home test kits for screening testing should ensure equal access and availability to the tests; establish accessible systems that are in place for ensuring timely reporting of positive results to the school; and communicate with families the importance of following isolation guidance for anyone who tests positive. Communication strategies should take into account the needs of people with limited English proficiency who require language services, and individuals with disabilities who require accessible formats.

Screening testing should be done in a way that ensures the ability to maintain confidentiality of results and protect privacy. Consistent with state legal requirements and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), K-12 schools should obtain parental consent for minor students and assent/consent from students themselves, when applicable.

Management of Cases and Exposures

Students or staff who come to school with symptoms or develop symptoms while at school will be asked to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator while in the building and be sent home and encouraged to get tested if testing is unavailable at school. Symptomatic people who cannot wear a mask should be separated from others as much as possible; children should be supervised by a designated caregiver who is wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator until they leave school grounds.

Schools have developed mechanisms to ensure that people with COVID-19 isolate away from others and do not attend school until they have completed isolation. Once isolation has ended, people should wear a well-fitting mask or respirator around others through day 10. Testing is not required to determine the end of isolation or mask use following COVID-19 infection; however people can use the test-based strategy outlined in the isolation guidance to potentially shorten the duration of post-isolation mask use. If using the test-based strategy, people should continue to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator in the school until testing criteria have been met. People who are not able to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator should either isolate for 10 full days or follow the test-based strategy to determine when they can safely return to the school without a mask, continuing to isolate until testing criteria have been met. If a person with COVID-19 has been inside a school within last 24 hours, the space should be cleaned and disinfected. For more information, see Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility.

Quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19 except in certain high-risk congregate settings such as correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and nursing homes. In schools, which are generally not considered high-risk congregate settings, people who were exposed to COVID-19 should follow recommendations to wear a well-fitting mask and get tested. K-12 school administrators can decide how to manage exposures based on the local context and benefits of preserving access to in-person learning. Accommodations may be necessary for exposed people who cannot wear a mask or have difficulty wearing a well-fitting mask. Schools can also consider recommending testing for a classroom in which a student was recently exposed who is unable to consistently and correctly wear a mask.

Quarantine is a key component to Test to Stay programs. Since quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19 except in certain high-risk congregate settings, Test to Stay (TTS) is no longer needed. If any school chooses to continue requiring quarantine, they may also choose to continue TTS.

Responding to Outbreaks

If a school is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak they will consider adding prevention strategies regardless of the COVID-19 Community Level. Strategies that can help reduce transmission during an outbreak include wearing well-fitting masks or respirators, improving ventilation (for example moving school activities outdoors, opening windows and doors, using air filters), screening testing, and case investigation and contact tracing. Early identification of cases to ensure that they stay home and isolate is a critical component of outbreak response. Schools may also consider suspending high-risk activities to control a school- or program-associated outbreak. Schools that are experiencing outbreaks will work with state or local health department in accordance with state and local regulations.

Considerations for High-Risk Activities

Due to increased and forceful exhalation that occurs during physical activity, some sports can put players, coaches, trainers, and others at increased risk for getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Close contact sports and indoor sports are particularly risky for participants and spectators, especially in crowded, indoor venues. Similar risks may exist for other extracurricular activities, such as band, choir, theater, and other school clubs that meet indoors and entail increased exhalation. At a high COVID-19 Community Level, schools can consider implementing screening testing for high-risk activities such as indoor sports and extracurricular activities. Schools may consider temporarily stopping these activities to control a school- or program-associated outbreak, or during periods of high COVD-19 Community Levels.

Considerations for Prioritizing Strategies

Schools, with help from local health departments, consider local context when selecting strategies to prioritize for implementation. Schools balance the risk of COVID-19 with educational, social, and mental health outcomes when deciding which prevention strategies to put in place. Additional factors to consider include:

How Can We Help You?

Please contact your child's school if you have specific questions regarding your child or your child's school, or call the RSU 40 District Office at 785-2277.