May 5—LIVERMORE FALLS — Following discussion with summer recreation directors, the Livermore Falls Selectboard voted unanimously Tuesday night to cancel the Spruce Mountain Summer Recreation Program for this year.
Like last year, the program was canceled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"Do we or don't we?" Sally Boivin, director of the six-week summer program, asked the board. "I know the kids love and need rec. They've been cooped up for a while, but we are still in a pandemic."
Boivin and Margaret Leclerc, assistant director of the summer program, said they came to the board for guidance.
Boivin and Leclerc, who work for Regional School Unit 73, said they have seen an increasing number of children testing positive for COVID-19. School nurses have to do contract tracing to determine those with whom the sick children have had contact.
The town's recreation program does not have a nurse, Boivin said, so when children go home and come back the next week, it would be difficult to know if they had been in contact with anyone who was positive for the coronavirus. Thus, the children would have to quarantine for two weeks.
Both Jay and Livermore Falls support the program through taxes. Jay raises $13,000 toward the cost of the program. Children from those towns pay to attend, whiles kids from other communities pay more to participate.
Boivin and Leclerc said they know the summer recreation program helps families and provides jobs for high school students. Participants are fed two meals a day and are offered plenty of activities five days a week.
Boivin said she thought the district would continue to supply lunches through a federal program.
To maintain safe conditions for the children, the district could divide them into groups, with some kids doing activities or having lunch inside while others are outside, unless the weather is extremely hot or rainy.
Selectboard Chairman Jeff Bryant said music classes for students who play the trumpet are also to be held outside under a tent, with the children spaced far apart.