Fort Fairfield schools to give Christmas turkeys to staff for the holidays

2 years ago

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — A turkey around the holidays is a long-standing tradition, and the Fort Fairfield School Board intends to incorporate it into employee bonuses this year.

At the Dec. 14 Fort Fairfield School Board meeting, Superintendent Tim Doak announced that along with a check, faculty members will receive holiday turkeys this year as a thank you for all the hard work they have put in during the challenging year.

“Every employee in the district will get a turkey, including the board,” Doak said. “Every staff member, in different categories, will receive a different check, compensating for all the new procedures we have had to go through this year.”

The funding for these bonuses comes from the district’s ESSER II fund, which was used for district projects from last year. There was leftover money in that budget from projects that ended up falling through.

Along with turkeys and bonuses, the board tackled several other agenda items.

The board has discussed the Fort Fairfield district status as an “outbreak” school. The district has had many close contact cases come up over the last several months. The way to repeal this status is to have no new cases of quarantine for 14 consecutive days. 

The district is still doing weekly pool testing. The faculty of the schools are in the high 80s of percent for vaccinations, Doak said. 

There is said to be an overhaul for the CDC standard operating procedure after the holidays, but it is not yet known how that will change close contact tracing.. There are 267 schools that are in outbreak status in the state of Maine. The CDC opens outbreak investigations after three epidemiologically linked confirmed cases among different households. 

Doak expressed his frustrations with the large number of close contact quarantines.

“It is not educationally sound, when you have a student quarantining for the fourth or fifth time, and missing 15-plus days of school,” Doak said. “We have advocated and said ‘you are making decisions in an arena that you know nothing about, and you’re not asking the people that do’.”

In athletics, players in all sports are wearing masks during games and will continue to do so. Referees during matches will also pull players out to allow them to readjust masks if they are falling off. 

Wendy Ross, who was appointed by the city council at the recommendation of Doak, attended the meeting as a board member. The board also thanked Renis LeVasseur and Brad Laster for their service on the board as they are outgoing members.

The board was also given a presentation of the 2020-2021 audit.

The board also held further discussions on amendments on policies about nepotism and conflict of interest, as well as the adoption of policies on workplace bullying, board relationships and communication with staff. 

The next Fort Fairfield School Board meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Jan. 11. The full video of the school board meeting can be found on the SAD20 website.