The Star-Herald

SAD 1 reporting high vaccination rates among staff, enrollment increase

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Nearly 90 percent of all staff within SAD 1 schools are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to results of a recent district survey.

During the Sept. 8 school board meeting, SAD 1 Superintendent Ben Greenlaw announced that 88 percent of staff have received both doses of their COVID-19 vaccine. That includes 93 percent of teachers, nurses and social workers, 90 percent of principals and secretaries, 82 percent of ed techs, 77 percent of cooks and 71 percent of bus drivers and custodians.

“This is good news for the district. Even last year we knew that having our staff vaccinated would be what allows us to offer in-person instruction,” Greenlaw said.

Having fully vaccinated teachers, he noted, means that those people, along with vaccinated students, do not need to quarantine for 10 days if they are exposed to COVID-19 in the schools.

SAD 1 began mandating masks in all schools on Aug. 25, just as COVID-19 cases were first being detected at Presque Isle High School. All other schools within SAD 1 welcomed back students on Sept. 7.

Four positive cases that were confirmed four days after the start of PIHS classes on Aug. 18 resulted in 30 students entering quarantine. Since the mask mandate, three cases have been associated with the Presque Isle Regional Career & Technical Center, which is located at PIHS and serves students from other nearby districts as well.

Though COVID-19 exposure caused the Presque Isle Middle School boys soccer team to postpone practices until Sept. 7, all sports teams have been able to hold practices as planned, according to athletic director Mark White.

At least half of all students in grades seven to 12 are fully vaccinated, according to SAD 1’s vaccination report.

The district is also seeing early signs of enrollment increase. Greenlaw said that preliminary data shows SAD 1 has the largest increase among kindergarten students, 25 more when compared with last year. Greenlaw expects to have a fuller update on enrollment during the October school board meeting.

“Typically October is when we determine enrollment numbers for state funding purposes,” Greenlaw said. 

The increase in kindergarten students prompted the board to unanimously approve a part-time teacher position to assist the class, for which the salary will be paid through federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund monies. 

The next regular SAD 1 school board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the Presque Isle High School Cafeteria. 

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