Dear Brewer Schools’ Families & Staff,
We received notice from the Maine Center for Disease Control (MCDC) that Brewer High School has been qualified as having an official COVID-19 outbreak. In speaking with the MCDC they explained that this is a technical metric that means three people associated with the school have had a case over a fourteen day time period.
No case has been traced to any Brewer School or program, though with community spread of the virus there is no way to confirm where cases originate. The MCDC agreed that, based on our information, there is minimal chance that has happened. It was gratifying to hear their representative tell us that we have “done everything right.”
It is also possible that the agency will reevaluate what it means to be categorized as an outbreak in the coming weeks given the low incidence of cases in Maine schools, which is true of Brewer Schools.
This does not change our status as being open for in-person education, and it does not change our hybrid model in any way. There have been no new positive cases at the school in recent days.
I am proud of our students and staff for all the good work that is getting done on a daily basis. I am regularly in the buildings (and like our students and staff, follow all masking and distancing protocols while there) and I see quality, focused work getting done and healthy relationships being reinforced. Our clubs, student organizations, and teams are meeting and spending productive, unifying time together. Our schools are cleaned and disinfected every day by our excellent building maintenance and custodial staff. Fresh air is constantly flowing into all our learning spaces through our HVAC system, and we are filtering out any virus using a combination of professionally rated MERV filters and standing HEPA units in other classrooms. Where necessary we have undergone permanent building modifications in order to install more and better filtration in key areas.
When we say that schools are the safest place to be during the pandemic, we are backing that up with protocols and infrastructure to accomplish this goal in our buildings. It’s about making life difficult for the virus.
However, the CDC has a very strict set of rules for quarantining individuals when it comes to schools. This helps us keep everyone safe, and in Brewer we always comply with every requirement or go beyond these in order to make sure we keep any risk at an absolute minimum. But this also means we have experienced several temporary moves to remote learning in order to hit this target.
The bottom line is that we will continue to do our best to support everyone’s physical health, social/emotional well being, and academic learning.
Part of the deal includes keeping each of you informed every step of the way. So, having just learned of this status notification we are making you aware. We can be removed from the list in a few weeks if we can all work together to keep positive cases from coming into our buildings in the first place. You are all a big part of that as you help us adhere to our Keys to Safety in the Brewer Schools and especially monitor for any symptoms and keep students home when they present with any symptom.
Here is information on what it means to be in quarantine, and if someone in the household is getting tested please consider keeping your student(s) home until the results are in and call to let one of our nurses know that is why they are out.
I believe that we will look back with the knowledge that we got through this by taking care of one another through our careful monitoring of and persistence in good health habits.
Gregg Palmer, Superintendent of School