Fort Fairfield Makes "Monumental" Change in Policy

The debate of masking in schools has become a point of contention between parents and administrations throughout Aroostook County and beyond. Fort Fairfield (MSAD #20) has become the first school district in the County to make a change in their masking policies one week after the students return to school after the February school break.

Photo by Atoms on Unsplash
Photo by Atoms on Unsplash

March 7, 2022

Superintendent of Schools at Fort Fairfield, Timothy Doak released a memo to the community after a recent school board meeting to notify parents and students of the changes in the masking policies. Beginning March 7 in all MSAD #20 schools masking will be optional for students and staff across the district.

Reasoning Behind The Decision

In the memo, Doak cited significant decreases in Covid-19 cases in the community as well as a drop in hospitalizations in the area. The students will still be required to mask while riding the buses, however, Doak noted that the federal CDC mandate for masking is set to expire on March 18.

More insight from MSAD #20

As the first school district in Aroostook County to make the decision to allow optional masking Doak said “This change will be a monumental move towards getting back to a normal school day in all of Maine school systems, and especially our own MSAD No. 20 schools.” There has been an increasing frustration among parents in the area that have been calling for an end to the masking mandates in schools. As we approach the two-year mark since students were sent home from schools for the final 3+ months of the school year, parents have been pushed to their limits in a number of ways. Read the official memo below:

What's the plan in other districts? 

MSAD #1 in Presque Isle is scheduled to have a special school board meeting on February 28 to listen to the concerns of parents and community members about the current mandates and policies, however a change in those policies is unlikely to take place immediately.

Remember, the children are always watching you.....

The masking mandates are the latest in a wave of contentious moments since the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020. As a parent of a third-grade student, I do hope to see the masks become optional sooner rather than later, however we must continue to follow the guidelines in a respectful manner until an official change is made. Our children are always watching and are looking at us to be the leaders they need. As we look to close out this latest saga, we need to proceed with dignity and respect.

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