This is Dave Murphy, MSAD 44 Superintendent of School and today is Friday, September 3, 2021. I want to begin by informing you that we have revised our call lists for this new alert platform. Yesterday’s message went out to far more people than originally intended. We are hopeful that this revised list includes only parents, guardians and staff members. If you do not belong to one of those categories, please contact one of our school offices and we will continue to make any necessary adjustments to this list. Thank you for your patience as we make this transition to our new program. As with the old Honeywell system, it also seems like there is a brief pause prior to the recorded message being heard, so please give it a few seconds to begin after you answer the call.
Now to my reason for this posting…
As a result of continuing concerns regarding the escalation of COVID cases currently being seen in Maine and increasing evidence of the impact of the Delta variant on school-age children, I am contacting you tonight to let you know that I announced my intent to call an Emergency meeting as I am entitled to do under MSAD 44 Policy BE to ask the Board to reconsider its vote of August 23. I believe that reconsideration of this decision would be in the best interests of the health and safety of MSAD 44 students and staff. The Board Chair and I met today to discuss this. Since we are heading into the Labor Day weekend and many community members and Board members likely have plans over the next three days, the Chair has instead agreed to call a Special Board Meeting for Tuesday, September 7 at 6:30 PM in the Helen C. Berry Auditorium at Telstar. This shift to Tuesday will allow us adequate time to get the information out about the meeting, while also providing more people in our community with the opportunity to attend. Since this meeting will now be called, the September meeting will be moved back to its originally scheduled date of September 27th. As you may recall, it had only been shifted to the 13th to allow for an earlier discussion on this important topic. This new date of September 7 will enable us to further expedite that conversation.
Interested citizens will be welcome to address the Board at this meeting. There will again be expectations for civil and appropriate comments by those who choose to speak. Comments will not be accepted once Board discussion of the agenda item begins. Other than the comment sections, this will be the only item on the agenda. Following the close of citizen and school board comments, I will introduce my recommendation by summarizing and expanding upon my reasons for encouraging the Board to adopt a mandatory masking requirement for all students, staff and visitors to our buildings. Board discussion and a vote will then follow.
This meeting will also be broadcast to allow for greater community participation and people will have an opportunity to offer their comments by calling in. People may also submit their comments ahead of time electronically or in hard copy and these will be shared with the Board prior to the time of the meeting. The Board Chair will determine the manner in which comments are taken online and in-person and has indicated that he will again extend the typical 15 minutes as appropriate, as long as the remarks remain civil and do not become repetitive. Board members will need to be physically in attendance to vote.
Since we are currently operating under the previous Board decision, masking will not be required for vaccinated people on Tuesday evening but those in attendance who are not vaccinated will be required to mask.
I know that this decision will be seen in different ways by different members of our community. Please understand that I believe it is my responsibility as your Superintendent of Schools to take this action and know that I am doing this because I believe it is important that we take every precaution possible to ensure the health and safety of the people in our schools and our community.
Best wishes for a relaxing and enjoyable Labor Day weekend.
Dave Murphy, MSAD 44 Superintendent of Schools