AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Janet Mills' Administration on Friday released an update to its color-coded Health Advisory System that classifies counties’ relative risk of COVID-19 transmission. The classifications are intended to assist schools as they continue with their plans to deliver instruction and support to students safely.
Franklin joins Androscoggin, Oxford, and York counties with a yellow designation. Cumberland joins all other counties in green designation.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) continue to review evidence that indicates lower transmission of COVID-19 in schools compared to the general population.
According to the Mills Administration, over the last 30 days the rate of new cases is 34 per 10,000 staff and students, compared to 116 per 10,000 people statewide. This rate of new cases in schools is less than 30% of the statewide rate for the general population.
A "yellow" designation indicates a moderate level of community risk. With the designation, the Maine DOE asks schools to consider additional precautions, such as limiting numbers of people in school buildings at the same time, suspending all extracurricular or co-curricular activities including competitions between schools, limiting interaction through cohorting, or other measures based on the unique needs of each school community.
The color-coded system was implemented at the end of July to help give schools guidance on how to safely restart school amid the pandemic. All 16 counties got the initial go-ahead from the State, all receiving a "green" designation, though many districts opted for a hybrid model.
Here's how the classifications work:
- Green: relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread. Schools can consider in-person instruction with required health and safety measures.
- Yellow: elevated risk of COVID-19 spread. Schools should consider hybrid instructional models to try to limit the number of people in classrooms at the same time.
- Red: high risk of COVID-19 spread. In-person instruction is not advised.
The DOE said these designations are made out of an abundance of caution and for the consideration of school administrative units in their decisions to deliver instruction.