LEWISTON — The Lewiston School Board voted 7-1 Monday night to change outdoor quarantine rules in response to appeals from members of the Lewiston High School field hockey team and their parents.
During public comments, field hockey teammates Savannah Connor-Schade, Jasmine Connor-Schade, Taylor Melvin, Madison Freeman and Calezia Dow and Lexi Freeman expressed dismay at not being able to play the final game of the season due to the quarantine guidelines.
A teammate, with whom they came into close contact, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
“We come here because we feel these are unfair and inconsistent guidelines that prevent us from playing our game and going to school,” Savannah Connor-Schade said, pointing out several conflicting policies within public schools. of Lewiston, and against the guidelines. from Edward Little High School in Auburn.
“We’re annoyed, we’re upset, we’re not happy that we can’t play our last game. It’s not fair to our senior that she can’t play in her senior night even though she spent four years of her field hockey life to do it,” Savannah Connor-Schade said.
Senior Night is a special celebration of the achievements and contributions of athletes in their senior year.
The school committee was sensitive to the students’ situation and their discussion largely focused on potential actions that would allow them to participate in their final game.
Some participants expressed concern about the discussion.
President Megan Parks said she felt it might not be fair to make a policy change without telling the school community in advance.
Allison Lytton, president of the Lewiston Education Association, parent and teacher at Lewiston Public Schools, agreed.
“I think we really need to keep an eye on equality in these situations and also make sure there’s an informed decision,” Lytton said. “I think the representation is not in the room to really have a conversation about this.”
After nearly two hours of discussion, Ward 6 representative Ronald Potvin offered to change the quarantine windows for students who were participating in an outdoor activity. The new guidelines would allow students designated as close contacts to return to school after seven days if they test negative for COVID-19 with a verified test outside of school on the fifth day or a rapid test at school. the seventh day. The motion also states that physical contact must be demonstrated and not assumed.
Members voted 8 to 1 in favor of the motion, with Ward 1 Representative Bruce Damon voting in opposition. The motion covers outdoor sports and other outdoor activities, such as recreation.
According to Superintendent Jake Langlais, each of the girls considered a close contact with the field hockey team will be tested on Tuesday. If they test negative, they will be allowed to return to school and play the final game against Bangor High School on Tuesday night.
“Thank you all for making this tonight and listening to us and giving us a chance,” Savannah Connor-Schade said. “Thank you.”
According to Chair Parks, the committee will host a workshop and discussion on the entire standard operating procedure regarding COVID-19 quarantine, likely at the next meeting on November 1.
Phil Nadeau publishes a book on the economic history and immigration of Lewiston