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Outdoor Face Mask Update

posted May 20, 2021, 5:23 AM by Vincent Vanier   [ updated May 20, 2021, 5:24 AM ]
Throughout the year, Valley Unified and the member districts/schools have followed the guidance of the Maine CDC and Maine Department of Education with respect to COVID-19 health and safety measures.  On May 13, the office of Governor Mills announced that effective May 24, Maine will:
  • lift all capacity limits and requirements to physically distance in all public outdoor settings.

  • lift all capacity limits in public indoor venues. Physical distancing requirements are also eliminated, except in settings where people are eating or drinking and therefore would be removing their face covering – such as indoor restaurants, bars, dining areas in camps or in congregate living facilities, and break rooms.

The same guidance also indicated that the Maine Department of Education will separately update school-based protocols.  This week, the Maine Department of Education updated their school guidance which removes all social distancing requirements for adults.  Additionally the DOE is no longer requiring schools to mandate face mask wearing outdoors for staff or students; however, schools can choose to keep outdoor face mask mandates if they so choose. 

Earlier this morning, we met with school administrators and nurses to discuss this information. In that conversation, we reflected on the fact that since day 1, we have always followed the recommendations of the Maine CDC and the Maine DOE.  We also reflected that student and staff behavior at home or in the community does not match what is currently happening at school. Based on this, our team is in consensus that if the Maine CDC and Maine DOE support no social distancing and no mask wearing outdoors, we will as well.  

Beginning tomorrow, May 20, 2021, students and staff will no longer be required to social distance and wear a face covering when outdoors. This includes, but is not limited to: Outdoor classrooms, outdoor events, recess, and athletic games. All indoor mask requirements remain in place at this time, which includes school buildings, school offices, buses and other school vehicles.

It is important to Valley Unified and the member districts that we support the easing of restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic while also maintaining our health, safety and contact-tracing efforts. We also encourage all parents to consider vaccinating their 12 and older children against COVID-19. Parents are encouraged to watch this informational video hosted by the Maine DOE. If you are interested in securing a vaccine for your child, please contact your child’s school nurse and they will help guide you.  Thank you for your help in keeping our students safe while we begin the journey back to normal. 


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Benjamin Sirois

Superintendent of Schools: Valley Unified Education Service Center

For more information, please see https://vuescsuper.blogspot.com/2021/05/outdoor-face-mask-guidance-update-51921.html