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Maine schools with universal masking can suspend COVID-19 contact tracing under new guidance

Under the new guidance, school districts with universal mask mandates can suspend contact tracing.
The state of Maine on Wednesday announced updated guidance for schools as they deal with more...
The state of Maine on Wednesday announced updated guidance for schools as they deal with more COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant.
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 2:34 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) - The state of Maine on Wednesday announced updated guidance for schools as they deal with more COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant.

Under the new guidance, school districts with universal mask mandates can suspend contact tracing.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that the higher contagiousness and spread of the omicron variant has reduced the effectiveness of contact tracing in schools.

State officials said that school superintendents have reported that conducting contact tracing in a timely and thorough manner is becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible because of omicron.

This change only affects Maine schools with universal masking policies. Schools that have the resources are encouraged to continue contact tracing if they can.

Districts with no masking policy will need to continue contact tracing efforts.

“Keeping kids safely in the classroom is crucial to their education and minimizes disruption to the lives of their parents, who often have to stay home from work or are put in a child care crunch when their kids can’t be in school,” Gov. Janet Mills said in a statement. “Of course, the best way to protect the health of students and to keep them in the classroom is to get vaccinated, which will help slow the spread of COVID.”

Officials said the change is consistent with what other New England states are doing.

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