The aim, they say, is to support in-person learning as the spread of the most recent strain of Covid-19, Omicron, makes its way across the state.

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At the end of December, the CDC sent out new guidelines, shortening the timetable folks with Covid-19 would have to quarantine.

This move was met with some confusion, and had some questioning the thought process of this decision, especially as reports were being released about Omicron's high transmissibility rate.

When Maine schools resumed classes, after the holiday break, many of them were met with staffing shortages due to the quickly spreading virus.

Today, the Maine CDC and the Maine Department of Education released another revision regarding schools and their standard operating procedure, when it comes to Covid 19.

"Following discussions with school superintendents, the Maine CDC has revised the SOP to state that schools enforcing a universal masking policy may choose to suspend contract tracing in light of the transmissibility of the Omicron variant and its impact on the effectiveness of contact tracing. The Maine CDC has determined that, because the Omicron variant is far more contagious than prior variants, has a shorter incubation period, and tends to spread in the early part of an infection, it is contributing to higher levels of community transmission, making community exposures more frequent and, consequently, reducing the effectiveness of contact tracing in schools. The revised SOP permits schools with universal masking policies to suspend contact tracing if they are not able to conduct it effectively, in order to rededicate limited and tired staff to focus on other COVID-19 mitigation strategies, like detecting and preventing infected people from being in schools via pooled testing, to help keep kids in the classroom. "

This revision directly affects schools that have a universal masking policy, regardless of the school population's vaccination status.

It's worth noting that by U.S. CDC's own count, more than half of Maine's younger population, ages 5 to 9 years, have been fully vaccinated, and  83 percent of Maine schools' staff, as well.

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