The superintendent of Waterboro-based RSU 57 announced Monday the start of school will be delayed for a week and a person associated with the district’s transportation department has tested positive for COVID-19.
The district had planned to begin a staggered start to the school year with some grades attending the first day of in-person classes on Tuesday. Superintendent Larry Malone said in a letter to students and families that the start of school for both remote and in-person students will be delayed until Sept. 14.
RSU 57 is the latest York County school district to modify its reopening plans since new guidance was released Friday by the Maine Department of Education indicating an increased risk of COVID-19. The reclassification of York County as “yellow” in its color-coded school reopening advisory system comes as the county has had five outbreaks in the last two weeks, seen an increase in cases per capita and currently has a positivity rate of 1.8 percent – three times the state average.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring several outbreaks in York County, including a large outbreak at the York County Jail, where 72 cases have been reported, and smaller outbreaks at the Sanford Fire Department and Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford. The pastor of the church, Todd Bell, was the officiant at a wedding and reception in the Millinocket area last month that has since been linked to three deaths and 147 cases around the state, including those at the jail.
On Friday, the superintendent of Sanford schools announced he pushed back the start of school to Sept. 14 because of the increased level of community risk and community transmission. The Wells-Ogunquit Community School District revised its reopening plan to wait until Sept. 21 to bring back all students in-person five days per week. Students will instead attend in smaller groups until Sept. 21.
Malone said an individual associated with the transportation department recently tested positive for COVID-19.
“It is important to note that the Maine CDC has determined the individual not to be a ‘close contact’ by way of their contact tracing process,” Malone said in the letter.
Malone asked parents to monitor themselves and children for symptoms of COVID-19 and call a health care provider if they are experiencing symptoms.
Malone said a detailed reopening plan is forthcoming. In the meantime, the technology department will work to distribute student devices to support remote learning.
Curbside meal pick-up will be available at all schools from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Pick-up will be near the entrance of each school and families should stay in their cars while they are assisted by nutrition staff.
Pre-K and kindergarten screening and school bus orientation are delayed until further notice.
RSU 57 includes Waterboro, Alfred, Limerick, Lyman, Newfield and Shapleigh.
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