As the 2021-2022 winter season approaches, the Maine Principals’ Association (MPA), Maine School Superintendents Association (MSSA), Maine Athletic Administrators Association, Maine Music Educators Association, Maine School Boards Association and The Maine Athletic Trainers Association offers the following recommendations for extracurricular activities in school settings.
All agencies agree, according to a press release, that educational activities, including music and performing arts programs, support students in their social, emotional, physical and mental health and play a key role in the community.
“We will continue to seek the safest ways to make activities available to young people across the state,” the statement said.
The mission of the MPA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee is to provide advice to MPA member schools regarding the health and safety of students participating in inter-school sports and activities. Team sports and other extracurricular group activities may increase the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 for students, coaches, referees and staff, especially during indoor and close contact team sports. . We strongly recommend that all schools follow these unified guidelines for extracurricular activities.
“Please note that this information changes frequently given the nature of COVID-19,” the statement said.
Tips for sports, music, the performing arts and other school activities:
Isolation is required for positive COVID cases.
Anyone within six feet for 15 minutes or more within 24 hours of cumulative exposure, or direct physical contact with a COVID-positive person during the infectious period, both indoors and out. outside, is considered close contact and should self-quarantine for 10 days if not vaccinated or participating in pooled testing.
It is strongly recommended that school staff and eligible students be immunized. Vaccination remains the most effective way to control the pandemic.
Fully vaccinated individuals can refrain from quarantine if they show no symptoms and do not test positive for COVID.
Fully vaccinated people who are exposed to a positive case should be tested 5-7 days after exposure, even if they have no symptoms, and should wear a mask until they test negative.
Fully immunized individuals are encouraged to participate in pooled testing when this option is available.
Close unvaccinated contacts should be tested as soon as possible and again 5-7 days after exposure if the first test is negative.
Unvaccinated people who are in close contact should be quarantined for 10 days and cannot return sooner even with a negative test.
It is strongly recommended that schools participate in the Pooled Testing Program which is available through the State of Maine
For unvaccinated students participating in extracurricular activities, including music and the performing arts, group testing is an important way to ensure these activities continue even when identified as close contact.
Close contacts of a person with COVID-19 during school activities, who participate in group testing, may continue to participate in classes, school sports, school music and all school activities, even if they must quarantine themselves outside of school activities.
If a positive pool is detected, all participants in that pool will be individually tested to identify positive individuals. An individual who tests positive for COVID-19 should not participate in pooled testing for 90 days after testing positive.
Unvaccinated close contacts who are not currently participating in pooled testing, are required to quarantine themselves from the class and all school activities for 10 days and cannot return sooner even with a negative test.
Consistent and correct use of the mask indoors.
Masks are strongly recommended for all students and staff, whether vaccinated or not, indoors.
In general, people do not need to wear a mask when they are outside when they are not within six feet of other people.
The mask is compulsory during school transport.
While a school consistently enforces universal mandatory masking for classroom displays, students identified as close contacts of a 3-6 foot exhibit may only participate in the regular school day. They cannot participate in extracurricular activities and must self-quarantine for 10 days outside of class.
Other tips from the CDC:
If people are feeling sick, they should stay home. All quarantine exceptions are revoked if close contact is symptomatic OR tests positive for COVID-19.
Physical distancing where possible.
Provide a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
Continue to practice hand washing, respiratory etiquette (coughing and sneezing), proper cleaning and disinfection.
The MPA and the MPA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee make the following recommendations for indoor winter sports:
Each district should have an emergency action plan in place that includes COVID-19 prevention and management strategies that align with federal, state and local guidelines. Districts can institute more restrictive measures.
Athletes should continue to provide their own water jugs – limit hydration stations.
Physical distancing during pre-match conferences.
Limit post-match handshakes, high fives, punches before, during and after the match. Continue with a good wave of sportsmanship.
Any plan to return to play after a positive case should include a gradual and gradual return to the physical effort developed by the student’s primary care physician.
Support staff (officials, coaches, game workers) will be assessed individually by school health officials based on their exposure to a positive case.
Support Maine music educators with their recommendations for safe music return.
Schools using sites outside of their school should follow the restrictions put in place by the site. Outdoor venues follow local school guidelines that are in place when organizing school events.
The Maine Principals’ Association will follow the recommendations of the Maine CDC for post-season games sponsored by the MPA.