Health Update: Mosquito-Borne Illnesses and Schools

Maine Department of Education in collaboration with Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is sharing this important guidance with schools regarding mosquito-borne illnesses. Maine CDC developed the information and guidance in this letter.

Three mosquito-borne illnesses are considered a local risk in Maine: Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV), and West Nile virus (WNV).  These are potentially serious viral infections transmitted to people from the bite of an infected mosquito.  These diseases are especially severe in children (as well as adults over 50).  It is important to practice preventative strategies since there is no vaccine or effective treatment for humans.

Maine saw the first human case of WNV in 2012, the first human case of EEE in 2014, and the first human case of JCV in 2017. Maine did not have any positive EEE or WNV mosquito pools, human cases, or animal cases in 2017. Maine had two human cases of JCV in 2017. Mosquito testing in Maine does not include JCV and laboratory testing for JCV in humans is done out of state.

Maine identified a WNV case in a Maine resident and a WNV positive mosquito pool in Kittery to date in 2018. The human case of WNV became ill on a road trip and likely acquired the infection out of state. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont identified mosquito pools positive for WNV to date in 2018. Massachusetts also identified several humans with WNV and New Hampshire identified several birds with WNV to date in 2018.

The risk for contracting mosquito-borne diseases is highest from dusk to dawn and when temperatures are above 50 degrees (and especially above 60 degrees), since these are the conditions when mosquitoes are most actively biting.

Schools play an important role in preventing mosquito-borne illnesses.  Maine CDC and its consulting experts recommend:

  • Cover up outdoors. Children and others on outdoor field trips and participating in other outdoor activities for a significant amount of time when the temperature is above 50 degrees should be encouraged to cover up with long sleeve shirts, pants, and socks; and/or,
  • Use repellent.Use an EPA approved repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing.  The repellent/insecticide permethrin can be used on clothing and can be effective through several washes.  Always follow the package directions. Details on recommended repellents.
    • School employees and volunteers must have authorization from parents or guardians before applying repellents to minor children (CMR 01-026, Chapter 10, Section 2.I.4.iii).
    • Schools that schedule practices or games at dusk or evening with temperatures above 50 degrees should encourage the use of repellent for all participants including coaches and observers.

Implement Integrated Pest Management strategies.Since we anticipate the risk from mosquito-borne illnesses to continue, schools should consult with their IPM Coordinator to review their IPM policy. Information on Maine’s School IPM Program.

Please monitor Maine CDC’s arboviral website for the most up to date information on positives detected in the state. If mosquito-borne disease activity increases in your area, the following strategies should be implemented:

  1. Use EPA approved repellents. These should be available to both students and staff who are outdoors, particularly during dusk and dawn hours. If you have an outdoor event, repellent should be available to spectators as well to limit the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
  2. Consult with your school IPM coordinator and implement a plan to reduce the number of mosquitoes and mosquito breeding sites on school grounds.
  3. Limit and/or reschedule evening outdoor activities. Unless the dusk temperature is forecast to be less than 50 degrees, limit or reschedule outdoor evening activities such as school athletic events so people are able to go indoors by one hour before sunset.

All these recommendations are especially true in those areas with previously-identified mosquito-borne illnesses. However, the lack of identified virus in an area of the state does not mean there is no risk.

Maine CDC has one-page fact sheets for EEE, WNV, and repellents which we encourage you to send home with students, share by email, and/or post on your school website(s), as you deem appropriate. Access the facts sheet here.

Resources to learn more about mosquito-borne illness and mosquito control:

Maine Department of Education and Maine CDC continue to work very closely together and are greatly appreciative of your assistance in keeping Maine’s children and school communities healthy.

Seeking School Highlights for School Report Cards

The Maine Department of Education is requesting the assistance of school principals in the development of the new 2017-2018 School Report Cards that will be publically released later this year as part of the rollout of Maine’s Model of School Support and the Every Student Succeeds Act. The highlights will appear in the School Report Card along with other school data and information, as part of a two-page graphical snapshot which may be viewed online or printed as a PDF for distribution.

A “School Highlights” section will be included on the Report Cards to provide the opportunity for schools to emphasize elements of which they are especially proud. Some examples that have already been submitted include: college credit programs, specific athletic programs, active parent groups, school resources officers, gifted and talented programs, special projects, Job’s for Maine Graduates Programs, mentoring programs, chorus and band, student clubs, specific facilities and learning spaces, after-school programs, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports systems, attendance programs, hands-on learning opportunities, and much more.

The Maine Department of Education will be reaching out to principals via email asking them to submit their school highlights in an online survey. The data collection survey tool provides a list of categories with examples of possible responses. Schools may choose to create their own categories in the provided “Other” selection. Up to four categories will be available for submission.

School highlights will be due to the Department by October 5, 2018. Please share this information with the principals in your district.

For further questions and information contact Maine DOE Assessment and Accountability Data Coordinator Penny Henry at Penny.L.Henry@maine.gov.

 

2018 STEM Education Innovation Challenge Grant Competition for K-12 Educators

The Maine STEM Collaborative has announced the 2018 STEM Education Innovation Challenge Grant Competition to provide K-12 educators the opportunity to try out highly innovative ideas in STEM teaching and learning.

All K-12 teachers in STEM, arts, humanities, and social sciences are eligible to apply. Teachers are strongly encouraged to collaborate with informal educators, higher education faculty and staff, not-for-profit organizations and businesses to strengthen their applications and to maximize opportunities for success.

More detailed information, including a timeline, selection criteria, and the application process can be found on the Maine Space Grant Consortium website.  Applications are due no later than 5 p.m., Monday, October 15, 2018.

For more information visit the Maine Space Grant Consortium website or email mestemchallenge@gmail.com.

Reminder to Superintendents: Updating of District Assessment Coordinators (DAC) in NEO

As a reminder to superintendents, Maine DOE is currently in the process of releasing and reviewing assessment results from the 2017-2018 MEA test administration.  We will soon transition into sharing information about the upcoming 2018-19 test administration.

All critical communication regarding the Maine Educational Assessments (MEA) is sent to the individual listed as the District Assessment Coordinator (DAC) within District Roles in NEO.  Please verify the correct individual is listed in NEO. A current listing of DACs can be accessed by downloading the most current version here. (Attached excel of DACs as of today 9/10/18).

If the DAC listed is not accurate, please update DAC information within the District Roles Section on the certification page of the Staff Module of NEO.

  1. Log into NEO
  2. Go to Staff Module
  3. Click on certButton2 and choose Certification Report
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen to the District Roles section
  5. Under Designee – click on the dropdown arrow and select the correct person that will be the District Assessment Coordinator (DAC). The person must already have another position for your district in NEO staff or the person will not show on the list.
    district roles.png
  6. Once the person is selected, Click the Save Designees button to save the information to the database.
  7. If you have issues with the NEO staff module, please send an email describing the problem to MEDMS.Helpdesk@maine.gov
  8. Any other questions can be directed to Eric Buckhalter, Management Analyst eric.buckhalter@maine.gov or 207-624-6770.

State Special Education Determination

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires each state to develop a state performance plan/annual performance report (SPP/APR) that evaluates the state’s efforts to implement the requirements and purposes of Part B (ages 3 through 20) and Part C (birth to 3) of the IDEA and describes how the state will improve its implementation.

The SPP/APRs include indicators that measure child and family outcomes and other indicators that measure compliance with the requirements of the IDEA.

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) uses information from the SPP/APR, information obtained through monitoring visits, and any other public information to annually determine if the state:

  • Meets requirements in implementing the requirements of the IDEA
  • Needs assistance in implementing the requirements of the IDEA
  • Needs intervention in implementing the requirements of the IDEA
  • Needs substantial intervention in implementing the requirements of the IDEA

For the 2016-17 school year (the most recent determination), OSEP determined that the Maine Department of Education (Maine DOE):

  • needs assistance in implementing the requirements of Part B of the IDEA;
  • and meets requirements in implementing the requirements of Part C of the IDEA.

As a result, the Maine DOE has accessed technical assistance provided by federally-funded agencies and is working with schools to improve student outcomes and implementation of the IDEA.

View each state’s determination letter and information on how the determinations were made.