FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9’s pandemic-safety protocols and requirements for summer programming were presented to the Board of Directors Tuesday, June 22.

The board also heard about potential learning structures for the 2021-22 school year.

Curriculum Coordinator Laura Columbia presented the “moderate approach” the district will take for summer programming for July and sports, following updated recommendations from the Maine Department of Education.

The pandemic-safety protocols will require masks indoors at this point in time. This differs from the DOE’s new protocol, which is to recommend masking but not require it. Indoors, distancing requirements will be three feet between students while wearing masks and six feet during meals and snack times.

“We would like to recommend to continue implementing masking indoors for the summer months, knowing that we will be reviewing that as we receive more data and see how the implementation is going,” Columbia said.

Distancing and masking requirements while outdoors have been lifted.

The district will continue conducting contact tracing and health screenings for all “students, staff, coaches and visitors … prior to on-site attendance at any RSU 9 activity or event.”

Columbia is also looking to pilot pool testing this summer for summer programming and sports teams “to potentially have as a tool to use in the fall.”

With pool testing, the district collects and tests swabs from groups of students in batches and then identifies the positive cases via individual testing.

“Anyone participating in pool testing does not have to quarantine because we’re detecting it so early,” Columbia said.  “It allows students to be more a part of their programming if they choose to participate. I think it is a great tool and the state is offering it free for us.”

The district is looking into hiring a COVID-19 Coordinator via grant funding to oversee the pool testing if the district implements the program in the fall because pool testing the entire district is “a lot of work,” Columbia said. The coordinator would also assist in contact tracing and help families with “any COVID-19 concerns.”

As for the fall, the district is “looking at a very similar return to school like we did before COVID,” Columbia said. This includes regular start times, traditional class sizes, a full return to extra and co-curricular activities, and full capacity in transportation.

The district is also working with Western Maine Education Collaborative on a remote academy.

It would be a bridge for families or kids who may not be ready for a full return,” Columbia said.

A full update on guidelines for the start of the 2021-22 school year will be given at the July 27 board meeting.

The board also did a first read on changes to the Evaluation of the Superintendent policy.

The current policy only involves assessments of the superintendent’s performance by the board. The new policy would include “a summary of feedback from the administrative survey.” The administrative survey will include feedback from district administration such as principals and department heads, among others, Chairperson Angela LeClair clarified in a phone interview.

The policy would also put the Personnel and Finance Committee in charge of developing the evaluation form and writing a summary evaluation. LeClair said putting the committee in charge was done to get “more eyes and more input on it.”

Director Cheriann Harrison raised concerns about putting the committee in charge and issues with the policy timeline. It will go back to the committee to be updated before it is read again before the board.

The addition to the policy comes in the wake of former Superintendent Tina Meserve’s resignation after she received a 91.3% union-initiated vote of no confidence by participating Regional School Unit 9 staff members.

At the time, Mt. Blue Education Association President Doug Hodum asked “the school board to carefully consider this vote and begin conversations about Superintendent Meserve’s performance over the past two-plus years, including her treatment of staff…”

Comments are not available on this story.