Changes in Joint Rule Chapters 126/261: Immunization Requirements for School Children

This notice is to inform you of the recent changes to the joint rule (Chapter 126/261), Immunization Requirements for School Children, (statutory authority, Title 20-A §6352). The Maine Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education have revised the Maine School Immunization Requirements rule to now include meningococcal meningitis disease. These changes further align Maine’s immunization rules with current national recommendations to better protect the health of all Maine people. Meningococcal disease is a rare, but dangerous disease that strikes healthy young people without warning. It can affect all ages, but teens and young adults are at highest risk of getting the disease.

The following changes are effective for the 2018-2019 school year for all students attending a public or private school in the State of Maine:

  • One dose of meningococcal vaccine MCV4 (serogroups A, C, W, and Y) is required for all students entering 7th grade.
  • Two doses of meningococcal vaccine MCV4 are required for students entering 12th grade, with a minimum interval of 8 weeks between dose one and dose two. If the first dose of meningococcal vaccine was administered on or after the 16th birthday, a second dose is not required.

For your convenience, the Department has prepared a sample notification letter that your school may use to inform parents/guardians of the above changes to the immunization rule.

Additionally, the DHHS  has prepared a Frequently Asked Questions attached with more information. As a reminder, no student is permitted to be enrolled in or attend a public or private school in Maine without providing either a certificate of immunization or a written medical, religious or philosophical exemption for each required school entry vaccine.

Please ensure all 7th and 12th grade student records are updated by the first day of the 2018-2019 school year for this new meningococcal meningitis requirement. If you have questions regarding this new meningococcal meningitis vaccine requirement, record keeping or immunization history reviews please contact Emily Poland, School Nurse Consultant at (207) 624-6688 or by email at Emily.Poland@maine.gov.

If you have immunization specific questions regarding vaccine schedules or validity of any doses given to a student, please contact the Maine Immunization Program at (207) 287-3746 or (800) 867-4775 or by email at ImmunizeME.DHHS@maine.gov.

Changes in Rule Chapter 45: Vision and Hearing Screening in Maine Schools

This notice is to inform you of the recent changes to Chapter 45: Rule for Vision and Hearing Screening in Maine Schools. This rule outlines the standards and processes for periodic vision and hearing screenings. The purpose of a screening is to identify potential hearing or vision deficits among school age children and refer for further care. Updates to this rule reflect current national recommendations for hearing and vision screenings. The rule also clarifies techniques and acceptable research-based tools for schools to use.

This new requirement is in effect for the start of the school year 2018-19. Chapter 45 includes definitions, school nurse responsibility, general guidelines, vision screening schedule including distance and near acuity, alternative screening methods, and referral guidelines, hearing screening schedule and referral guidelines.  The complete rule can be reviewed at http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/05/chaps05.htm.

In brief, vision screening is required for preschool, kindergarten, and grades 1, 3, 5, 7, 9; hearing screening is required for preschool, kindergarten, and grades 1, 3, 5. The rule acknowledges that some children, because of their medical histories, have a higher rate of vision problems and may bypass routine screening at school to be directly referred to an eye specialist. The school nurse may determine which children should be referred directly.

The rule also clarifies which research-based tools are acceptable for screening. Particularly, using evidence-based instruments to screen for amblyopia risk factors and reduced vision risk factors may be used for certain school children in place of tests of visual acuity.

If you have questions about hearing and vision screening, please contact the Maine Department of Education School Nurse Consultant, Emily Poland at 624-6688 or emily.poland@maine.gov .

Maine students among top scorers in national cyber security program

Maine students recently took part in the GirlsGoCyberStart program, a national opportunity that features fun, technical challenges and games to inspire the next generation of cyber security professionals.

Promoted by Governor Paul R. LePage, the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Office of Information Technology, the program took place February 20th through the 25th of 2018 with students from all over Maine participating.

GirlsGoCyberStart was available to the first 10,000 girls who registered with teams of 1-4 students. 18 states participated and 5 of Maine’s 60 plus teams that participated, ranked in the top 100 scorers. Participants on the top three Maine teams were awarded prizes.

Maine’s top five scoring teams were from the following high schools (in order of scoring):

  1. Bangor High School, Penobscot County
  2. Thornton Academy, York County
  3. Portland High School, Cumberland County
  4. Falmouth High School, Cumberland County
  5. Maine Connections Academy, Cumberland County

More details about the scoring can be found on the GirlsGoCyberStart website and more details about Maine team’s scores can be found on the Maine scores page of the GirlsGoCyberStart website.

Synergy summer training survey

The Maine Department of Education’s Help Desk staff is preparing for a summer training session and feedback is needed to ensure the training needs of Data Managers, Superintendents, CTE Directors, Tech Directors and others entering student data for the State Synergy System are addressed.

Please take a few moments to answer the following survey so we can better understand the training needs those entering student data for the State Synergy System.

DOE Summer Training Survey »

For further information and questions, please contact the Data Help Desk at 207-624-6896 or medms.helpdesk@maine.gov.

15th Annual MLTI Student Conference

Registration is open for the 2018 MLTI Student Conference, taking place on Thursday, May 24th at the University of Maine campus in Orono.

We’re expecting 1000 students and their adult chaperones to fill the concert hall at the Collins Center for the Arts for the opening student keynote and, at the end of the day, for the so-called “Über Session.” Once again, music and coding will drive the opening and closing sessions.

Between the opening and closing at the Collins Center, students will spill out over the campus for lunch and for sessions where students will learn and create in a variety of ways – through coding, audio, video, images, text, and more. Sessions throughout the day will be optimized for current MLTI devices (Apple and HP laptops and tablets), although other devices can participate in most activities as long as they can access the Internet. Session listings will specify device requirements.

As always, this will be a time for celebration and fun challenges. From the opening Student Keynote through the Block 1 & 2 sessions across the campus, to lunch the “college way,” and on to an amazing Über Session, this day will be another of what so many folks over the past decade-and-a-half have described as “our favorite day of the year!”

The registration cost for each participant (student or adult) is $15, the same as last year. This fee includes all event activities, lunch for each registrant, and a 2018 MLTI Student Conference T-Shirt for each student. Schools will be invoiced for registration costs after the Conference.

To register, go to: http://maine.gov/doe/mlti/student/studentconference/registration/index.html

Registration closes Friday, May 11th.

Questions? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the planning team at mlti.project@maine.gov, and we look forward to seeing you and a team of students from your school in Orono on May 24th!