Dear Brewer Schools’ Families and Staff,
The opening week of school marks, in my 28 years in public education, the busiest five consecutive days I can remember. If was wonderful to have students return to school full time again after a year plus of shut downs, remote learning, and hybrid schedules, but we also felt the impact of the Delta variant surge on our daily operations, and many families have been hit with quarantining restrictions as we open the 2021-2022 school year. I know that who has to quarantine when is a much more complicated question this year. You can look through the Standard Operating Procedures document (linked below) that schools follow, and I will also be sending to you what I hope will be a clear guide to quarantining.
As a result our school nurses have had a very busy week. This is especially true at Brewer Community School (BCS) that had 2 positive cases at school and approximately 9 others that were detected before students actually came to school (with some of those being presumed positive and not yet confirmed) with approximately 53 people in quarantine as a result. A few tests are still outstanding.
Brewer High School (BHS) had a quieter week on this front, with one positive case and one person in quarantine. This doesn't count some late August cases that were dealt with before school resumed.
With so much going on, I didn't want to miss announcing that there will be an on-site, before school vaccine clinic at BHS on September 13 for any interested students or staff. If you're interested in having your student begin the vaccine sequence reach out to the high school ASAP.
With so many cases in Penobscot County right now, here is a link on COVID-19 testing in Maine. You can also contact our School-Based Health Clinic school health clinic if you think your student needs a test.
Any student who is in quarantine can have a lunch provided by the district. Just fill out this Lunch Request Form. Here is a link to the school lunch menu if you want to see the options. Families can pick up the lunch by driving up to the front entrance at Brewer Community School between 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Please submit your form by 9:00 a.m. on the day the lunch is needed.
As always we continue to ask all families to monitor students for any symptoms. The same is true for Brewer School Department staff. Individuals should call a health care provider if they develop symptoms. It is important to call a healthcare facility before showing up in person if symptoms appear.
People should stay home when they are sick. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that ranges from mild to severe. It can be more severe in adults 60 years and older and in those with underlying conditions. The virus mainly spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and an uninfected person breathes in the virus. Signs and symptoms include the following:
- fever or chills
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- muscle or body aches
- new loss of taste or smell
- sore throat
- congestion or runny nose
- nausea or vomiting or diarrhea
Please keep in mind that many things can cause respiratory illness, so students and staff should be up-to-date on influenza and routine vaccinations.
Maine CDC recommends prevention measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have incorporated these into our Keys to School Safety in Brewer, 2021-2022.
Since the bulk of our start of year cases are at BCS, questions for the school should be directed to school Principals Jason Richards and Allison Kahkonen, and school nurse Carol Warmuth RN (all at 404-5700) or nurse Cathy Sherman RN (at 989-4140) at BHS or Superintendent Gregg Palmer (at 989-3160). Email addresses include first initials and last names followed by @breweredu.org
It appears that most positive cases are coming out of the summer and summertime activity and not from school at this point in time, but we cannot rule out that there will be some spread of the virus in our schools; we therefore remain vigilant and ask families to do the same. As all of Maine has seen a sudden surge in cases since mid-August, we are seeing and feeling the impact.
Maine Center for Disease Control (MCDC) has brand new Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) guidelines for schools that include the rules we are encouraged and, in some cases, required to follow.
Everyone is tired of this terrible disease and having our lives upended by the physical danger it has presented. I believe that we are making progress, and though at this moment we are in the throes of this recent surge, I am confident that there will much more normalcy this year than disruption. We have an early challenge to face, so let's do that with energy and support of one another and then, hopefully and happily, move on to easier days.
Gregg Palmer he/him/his