Dear Gould Families,
We Above all, I am writing to reassure you that Gould does not plan to move to remote instruction this week, even if Oxford County (in which we are located) moves to “Red.”
Although Gould is not moving to remote education, we will increase our surveillance testing with Broad Institute to twice per week. It is important to remember that Gould has gone above and beyond what the state recommends in terms of Covid protocols:
- Students in class are six feet apart rather than three.
- Students are not riding public buses to and from school.
- Gould has ensured universal Covid testing upon arrival to campus and performs ongoing surveillance testing.
- Students are screened for symptoms daily and temperatures are checked prior to entering academic buildings.
The three-tiered Health Advisory System* created by the Department of Health and Human Services and Maine CDC updates designations every two weeks. The recommendations are only advisory and are meant to inform decisions regarding public education and provide guidance for the unique circumstances of schools.
The current designation of Yellow suggests that the county has an elevated risk of COVID-19 spread, encouraging schools to consider additional precautions to reduce the number of people in classrooms at any one time and decrease interactions and risk. A designation of Red suggests a high risk of COVID-19 spread and that in-person instruction is inadvisable.
Although Gould still has not had any member of the community test positive for the virus, we have a plan in place should that happen. We have designated isolation and quarantine spaces should we need them, and the school would likely not move to remote learning unless we had more students exposed than those areas can accommodate.
Please keep in mind that Oxford County has only 37 active cases of Covid-19. According to the Lewiston Sun-Journal, the most recent positivity rate for Maine was 0.49 percent over a seven-day period, much lower than the national average of about 4.5 percent. But the threat is real, and we remind everyone to work hard to maintain the three Ws: wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands!
This news obviously complicates our plans for families to visits, but we are still actively working on details and will welcome you to campus as soon as we can safely do so. The faculty and I thank you for your patience.