February 2, 2020
Good Afternoon Families,
What a beautiful sunny day to mark the first day of February! A perfect day for a skate or maybe a walk along the shore. We never know when the snow will fly though, so please keep sending your children in those snow pants, warm jackets, gloves/mittens! We are running a bit low on snow pants, jackets and gloves.
I wanted to get ahead of February vacation before any necessary travel plans are made or any other time you may have to travel, and remind you of Portland Public School's most recent travel restrictions. These restrictions are more strict than the current Maine CDC travel guidelines and were developed to keep our school community safe. Before, if you presented with a negative test, that was enough, now you must quarantine for 3 days as you await the results. See below for details:
PPS Travel restrictions for any staff or students:Staff and students who travel outside of ME with the exception of NH and VT must quarantine upon their return to ME. They must schedule a Covid test for 3 days after their return. During those 3 days they must quarantine before and while awaiting the results of the test. If the results are negative and the student/staff member is asymptomatic they may return to school.
Although our case numbers have remained low for a short while, we still need to follow the guidance that we have adhered to so well at Peaks Island School since the fall. Fingers crossed, but we could see numbers climb again. So far, Peaks which is the only in person school in Portland, has done exceptionally well in keeping the community spread out of our school. Thank you again for your important part in keeping us safe and open. And please reach out to me if you have any questions.
Vaccinations have begun in Maine and we have vaccinated 7.6 % of our population with either the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and 1.6 % have received both doses. Hopefully soon, we can rely on a steady supply and get many more vaccinated. It will only get better.
Lastly, and on another note, please check for an email reminder about any vaccinations that our records show your child may have missed. It's so important to prevent these diseases from happening, especially now. Check with your doctor to see if your child needs to come in for a short shot visit. They will also gladly check their shot records and fax them on to me. You can find school immunization requirements on my website as well as information about covid.
I wish you all a wonderful February, with many more light filled days. March can be such a long stretch sometimes but we can do it! Be well, keep up the masking, distancing and hand-washing. Remember to stay safe and apart when you can, so one day we'll be together again.
Again, we will do our best to keep safety a priority at PIE in a nurturing and a kind place to learn, with lots of time dedicated to exploring outside in the natural world. Your kids are the best!
Peace and Love,
January 4 2021
First off, Happy New Year to all of you!
We look forward to seeing your children's precious smiling faces at school. It's such a privilege for all of us and I'm pretty sure they will be ready to be back as well! When that happens, please know that we will continue to be ever vigilant in keeping our school community safe by carefully maintaining distancing, proper masking, keeping noses covered, with clean, dry masks, washing hands, knowing, even more than before, that with vastly increased community spread, we must all stay the course. While we can all be proud that Maine has done an outstanding job in terms of efficiency and equity in delivering the vaccine as soon as it arrives, we still need to get through a long school winter/spring of staying the course before we can get to the other side. Together we can do this!
I wanted to send out another reminder of the stricter guidelines that began on Jan 1, 2021. Simply put, if staff or students travel to anywhere except NH and Vermont, they must quarantine for 3 days upon return to Maine and get a test on the third day they are home. You may get a rapid test or PCR and do not have to quarantine for the complete 10 days, if you get the test. Please make sure we get a copy of the negative test if you have traveled anywhere but Maine, Vt. or NH. Please also let us know if your test is positive. Testing sites can be found here: https://get-tested-covid19.org OR https://covidtestforme.com.
Lastly we ask again that you please consider talking with your child about how important it is to follow school rules to keep everyone safe . Please do not send your child to school if they have any symptoms at all and please let me or the office know when they will not be coming in. Make sure they pack extra clean, well fitting masks as well but know. should you forget, we have extras too. Your children do a great job of adhering to our school safety rules but it's so great to know, especially after a wonderful winter break, that you are supporting and reinforcing the work we do here to stay safe. We are so lucky to be the only Portland school where in person learning goes on, each and every day of the week and we thank you for your support.
Christine Hey RN
School Nurse, Peaks/Cliff
December 22 2020
Dear School Families,
Have a very happy holiday time! Hope you enjoy great food, good music, maybe a few gifts and of course, happy times with your family. Next year will be the time for a big celebration, if you so choose! This year chill, relax and love the one(s) you are with!! It will be sooo magical and good!!! Be kind, be uber safe each and every second of every day, and do have fun in the natural world!!! We can do this!!
See below the new and even more strict guidelines beginning Jan 1 for those who travel outside of Maine (except Vermont and New Hampshire) You need to quarantine and schedule a test 3 days after returning to Maine!!
Take good care. See you next year!!
Christine Hey RN
If you plan on traveling during the winter break, please follow the UPDATED TRAVEL GUIDELINES:
The district is moving to stricter travel guidelines beginning Jan 1, 2021. Staff and students who travel outside of Maine except to Vermont and New Hampshire must quarantine and schedule a COVID-19 test three days after their return to Maine.
Students must quarantine before their test and while waiting for results. If testing is not done, students must quarantine 10 days before returning to school. Testing sites can be found here: https://get-tested-covid19.org OR https://covidtestforme.com.
If you need to report a positive case to school during the break, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Someone will contact you within 72 hours. Please do not email, text or call your building nurse directly with this information.
The virus won’t be taking a holiday. We know a major source of transmission continues to be small indoor gatherings of family and friends. Do not let your “safety” guard down if visiting with people from outside of your household.
December 5, 2020
I wanted to make you aware of a change in the State of Maine policy regarding quarantine for individuals who have been a close contact of someone who tests positive with Covid 19. This afternoon, Maine CDC provided an updated policy on the required length of quarantine for an individual determined to be a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. Previously it was a 14-day period, now this has been shortened to 10-days. Please also know that having a negative test result does not shorten a quarantine period for close contacts, it's still 10 days.,
I also wanted you to know that before Thanksgiving break, I had the pleasure of seeing every child at Peaks when we reviewed and practiced how to properly wash hands, wear a mask without any nose slipping, keeping proper distance from others, and to just be kind. We also watched short videos about our topics and had time to discuss. Your children are amazing, have adapted well to our not so normal school year, and possess an understanding of why these measures protect everyone!
We always work to stay safe at Peaks Island School and always want to extend a big thank you to all of you for helping us in this effort. Keep packing those well fitting cloth masks that cover the nose and mouth, so they can be changed if they become wet and keep having a big enough supply of masks at home for each child so they have a fresh one for school each day. Last but not least, keep following the CDC guidelines outside of school as well, like wearing a mask whenever you leave your house, which in turn, helps keep Covid out of our school, thereby helping to keep us stay open! Remember the virus is all around us and winter will be very difficult if we don't pay careful attention and make good decisions.
More thank yous ! This time for checking your children's health status each morning before sending them to school and keeping them home if they have any symptoms at all. Please don't hesitate to call if your child is sick or if you have any questions. Also, please call your doctor if your child is not improving after 24 hours, a covid test could be necessary as well as a visit and note from the doctor before coming back to school. Remember, Staying safe is the most important thing we do.
Lastly, thank you for avoiding gatherings big and small, (even and especially during the holiday season) stay home whenever you can, always wear a mask when you leave your house, and please be kind. Make it a wonderful holiday! We can do this!
Christine Hey RN
December 1, 2020
Good Morning all,
It's hard to believe that it's 55 degrees outside and the first day of December! And sadly, it's also hard not to notice all the warnings we see and hear everyday about the challenges brought about by compliance and virus fatigue, the upcoming colder weather forcing us more and more inside and of course more holidays. We know , from what we see and read, that increased community spread in our small state is expanding at a much faster rate, our positivity rate is currently 3.9 % up from 2.9% last month and that the virus is really all around us. I write this not to cause undue anxiety but as a reminder that we must, even more than we have ever done before, make careful decisions about how we go about our day.
Studies from Maine and the CDC and a recent study in Scotland, tell us that our schools have been shown to be safe and show no direct evidence that transmission of the virus plays a significant role in driving rates among children. The data also found there is no difference between Covid-19 positivity rates in teachers and school staff relative to ;other worker groups of the same age. This is great reassurance and validation for our in person schools on the Islands where we work very hard to keep it that way!
While our state and especially our precious island community has done amazingly well in it's response to the pandemic from the very beginning , we are not immune at all from more change going in the wrong direction. Knowing this, makes it even more important to stay vigilant and take the time each and every day, to look carefully at the decisions we make.
At Peaks Island School and at Cliff, we are blessed with a smaller population of staff and students where no more than 44 people are in our building on any given day, making it possible to, in our in-person- school, to keep classrooms, hallways and the outside area safe. We are careful about distancing and masking at all times. Our hallways have markers of 3 feet or greater between and among individuals. Students are supervised during outdoor time and are reminded to keep their distance from others. During snacks, when students are unmasked they are spaced and reminded not to be playing or talking.
We will, also, based on the latest Maine DOE guidance add the following measures to keep us safe:
Not allow mask breaks during free-play/ or recess but limit breaks in a structured way to 5 mins each, up to a maximum of 15 minutes per day.
During structured mask breaks, teachers and students will be standing outdoors or seated inside and be at least 6 feet from on another.
Should will not engage in conversation and should all be facing the same direction
Other activities such as silent reading or writing prompt are ideal during mask breaks
We will also work to stagger students as they line up to come into the building each day.
It is much appreciated when parents pack extra clean masks in backpacks each day as masks become wet quickly and need to be changed., sometimes 2 and 3 times a day. Please know that when masks are replaced, students are asked to wash their hands and put their masks in their backpacks. Please make sure the extra masks you send to school are bagged so they can put the wet or dirty masks safely away.
Please also know that we have extra masks for students and staff at school and will always be ready if a child or staff member needs to replace them.
We want to keep our schools open and ask that we all keep the community spread from making its way into our school. Thank you for continuing to make good decisions for your families and loved ones. This is not forever, there are easier times coming but for now we must remember we are all in this together
Peace and please stay safe!
Christine Hey RN
School Nurse Peaks/Cliff
November 17 2020
Good Evening Families,
It's Christine, school nurse at Peaks!
I know I only just sent out information about Thanksgiving last week, but I need to let you know about some changes to travel. It comes as we continue to see alarming numbers of Covid cases with outbreaks, hospitalizations and deaths across our country. I am sure you have seen that while Maine is not a hot spot, we have also seen disturbing trends, where the positivity rate has tripled in two weeks with many more outbreaks seen all across the state. Below is new travel info:
Here is a link to state order: Ahead of Holiday Season, Mills Administration Announces Massachusetts No Longer Exempt from Quarantine or Negative Test Requirement
Travel- By current state mandate, anyone who travels outside of the state to anywhere except VT or NH, must either quarantine for 14 days upon return to Maine OR get a (negative) Covid- 19 test within 72 hours of return. Massachusetts is no longer exempt from this mandate. A person must be quarantined while waiting for the results of Covid test. A person can be tested in the state they are visiting if it is within 72 hours of return to Maine.
Staff or students cannot return to school until they present a negative test or quarantine for 14 days after traveling outside of Maine (NH and VT are ok) to non-exempt states.
Testing sites can be found here :
or at the Jetport at :
For more information, please also check out other recent changes and information @ Mainehttps://www.maine.gov/covid19/.
I recently sent you colorfully illustrated Thanksgiving CDC guidance, the info below is in the form of high to low risk activities, not as colorful but still good! Check it out, I found it to be really helpful!
Lower risk activities
Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household
Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday
Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home
Moderate risk activities
Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community
Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
Attending a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place
Higher risk activities
Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:
Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
Attending crowded parades
Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household
Using alcohol or drugs that may alter judgment and make it more difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.
Families and staff:
Staff or students cannot return to school until they present a negative test or quarantine for 14 days after traveling outside of Maine to non-exempt states. (NH and VT are ok).
We know that community transmission is increasing, a lot. Help us keep our school safe, and also protect those in the wider community who are more vulnerable, by wearing a mask whenever you leave your house- (critical in preventing outbreaks,) keeping up the distancing, and avoiding gatherings whenever you can , especially indoors. Please also consider celebrating Thanksgiving with household members only. We all have virus fatigue, making it hard to be patient, but we have promising news about a vaccine, and coupled with the realization that we are working together,things will be better. Remember to be kind during this holiday season and every other day too.
Christine Hey RN
School Nurse Peaks
Good Afternoon Peaks/Cliff Families,
I hope you and your children are enjoying a wonderful Veteran's day off from school today. It's a great day to honor someone's service to our country and get in some family time too!
The weather has been amazing and lovely, allowing for outside learning for longer periods on the two islands! This week, Mr. Robinson took very happy students on a big island bike ride to explore autumn and it's many changes, a truly magical time! Cliff does some great exploring too!
On another note, as you know, we are seeing vastly more numbers of positive Covid cases in Maine. Many factors are at play to help explain why this is, like drier colder weather, with small gatherings as people head inside, ( vs large sometimes maskless gatherings like we had in spring and summer). That's why at PIE it's so important we continue distancing, proper masking, washing hands, staying home when sick and of course, getting outside. Thank you so much for answering the call about having your child wear and pack extra clean masks that are comfortable, fit great, slip free, and covering noses. AS well as helping your child understand why it's so important we do all we do to stay safe. We noticed you did, and it really made a difference! Also, and not so unrelated, I almost forgot to thank you for participating in our school's October flu clinic in such great numbers or otherwise getting your child vaccinated ! Our school Staff got their shots at the clinic too!
Maybe you are wondering about the best and safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving. My big extended family decided to go virtual and I hope I can help make it the best one ever! Whatever you choose, please remember to be safe, follow the new Thanksgiving CDC guidelines- (shown below), wear a mask whenever you are in a public place ( we now know for sure that it protects the wearer too) , and please know we are in this together, our decisions affect others, especially those who are vulnerable.
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving! And if you decide to travel, ALL PEOPLE OVER 12 MONTHS MUST BE TESTED according to Maine travel guidelines, any travel to anyplace EXCEPT Mass, NH or VT must be tested or quarantined for 2 weeks upon return to Maine. If the traveler wants to test in the place they are visiting- that test must happen within 72hours of their return to maine. PWM airport is now testing travelers on arrival and open daily 11:30am-10:30pm pcr test is free (3 day turn around) rapid test is $25.00. https://covidtestforme.com/jetport-la/jetport/.
On a brighter note, it's great to hear that we may be getting closer to having a vaccine, which could be a big help!
Be safe and have a great rest of the week!
Christine Hey RN
Add: Also, thank you so much for the beautiful staff appreciation gifts, so thoughtful!
Updated Nov. 10, 2020
Traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends are fun but can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. Follow these tips to make your Thanksgiving holiday safer.
The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take steps to make your celebration safer.
Everyone Can Make Thanksgiving Safer
Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.
Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Make your celebration safer. In addition to following the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer, take these additional steps while attending a Thanksgiving gathering.
Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.
Hosting a Thanksgiving Gathering
If having guests to your home, be sure that people follow the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer. Other steps you can take include:
Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.
Limit the number of guests.
Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
Have guests bring their own food and drink.
If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.
Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.
Check travel restrictions before you go.
Get your flu shot before you travel.
Always wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation.
Stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household.
Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.
Consider Other Thanksgiving Activities Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you
Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
Have people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing, or other dishes they prepared.
Watch television and play games with people in your household
Shop online sales the day after Thanksgiving and days leading up to the winter holidays.
Use contactless services for purchased items, like curbside pick-up.
Shop in open air markets staying 6 feet away from others.
Safely prepare traditional dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others (for example, leave them on the porch).
Participate in a gratitude activity, like writing down things you are grateful for and sharing with your friends and family.
Dear Peaks Island Families,
I am Christine Hey, the school nurse at Peaks and so happy to be here for your children! Very shortly, I will share my website with you that will include ongoing health and safety information. I hope you enjoy it!
For now, I want to share with you the attached "Pre-screening Tool," to let you know that the district is putting an electronic process in place that will be coming soon so that all families can make sure their child(ren) are well enough to attend school each day. While the school district may not have this electronic process in place before tomorrow’s Preview Day and Monday's first day of school, please read all of the screening information carefully so it will become a habit each day before your children leave for school each day. If your child is unwell, please keep them home. Please check all of your child’s symptoms, using the COVID-19 symptom checklist and call the Peaks Island School office to let us know. Please do this prior to Preview Day and every day before school.
Additionally, make sure your emergency contact information is up-to-date, so that your child may be picked up by you or his/her emergency contact quickly and safely should they become unwell at school. Please also notify us immediately of any current or chronic health concerns your child may have.
Thanks so much for your help in checking your child’s symptoms each morning before school. Please know that this is a district wide requirement to help keep our school community safe. I also have attached a copy of the “COVID-19 Returning to School Document,” created by the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics in collaboration with the Maine Department of Education. This document has important information and includes answers to many questions you may have about COVID-19 and returning to school.
Again, I am so thrilled to be here, and can't wait to meet your children! I welcome you to contact me should you have any questions at any time! We are all in this together.
Stay Well and Happy,
Christine Hey, RN
Peaks & Cliff Island Elementary Schools