Mt. Blue’s Emma Charles (611) and Kahryn Cullenberg (614) were among last year’s early leaders during the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference cross country championships. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

 

FARMINGTON — The Regional School Unit 9 board of directors voted 12-4 Tuesday night, Oct. 27, to allow the cross country team’s participation in the Kennebec Valley Athletics Conference and state championships.

Directors felt torn about allowing an athletic team to participate on the competitive level when all other RSU 9 sports teams do not have approval to compete due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

“I do have a problem with singling out any one sport to give approval, and I also would just like to point out that we heard in our public participation very polarized comments on how teachers feel for safety in our schools, and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize their safety,” Wilton board member Cherieann Harrison said.

Other board members thought cross country participation was appropriate due to the sport’s minimal contact and for its low-risk classification, according to Maine’s Center for Disease Control.

During public comment, seven RSU 9 teachers voiced concerns regarding ongoing contract negotiations. They expressed issues with a potential decrease in retirement, overworking due to the challenges of hybrid teaching and pandemic-related safety concerns.

Superintendent Tina Meserve addressed the Cape Cod Hill School ventilation system, a concern raised by one of the teachers during public comment. Meserve read from a memo that was scheduled to be sent out that night to school parents and staff.

“I have received several questions and concerns about the ventilation system at Cape Cod Hill School,” Meserve read from the memo. “In response, our Director of Facilities Bill Greenlaw had the ventilation system and air exchange tested, and the airflow reviewed. The review was thorough. The good news is that the system is exchanging air at a rate that exceeds the recommendations and is functioning at full capacity.”

Based on the ventilation test, it was determined that all indoor air quality was at an excellent level and that the school has more than adequate air circulation and exchange.

In other business, the board approved the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan presented by Mt. Blue Middle School Principal James Black. Black is chairman of the district’s safety committee that developed the state required plan to address potential hazards such as flooding or a school shooting.

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