READFIELD — A student at Maranacook Community Middle School has tested positive for COVID-19, causing the school to immediately switch to fully remote learning, officials said Monday afternoon.
The case marks the first time a student has tested positive for COVID-19 at a Kennebec County school.
The Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention called Regional School Unit 38 Superintendent Jay Charette early Monday morning with the news that there was a student in the district with a “probable positive” test for the coronavirus.
At time of the telephone call, students in the district were already at school. Parents of students who came within close contact of the student who tested positive were contacted by the Maine CDC, and they immediately came to pick up their children.
Close contact is defined by being around a person with a positive COVID-19 case for more than 15 minutes, even if wearing a mask.
“We gave the CDC a list of the cohort that the student is in and the classes that they were in,” Charette said Monday. “We looked at students that rode the bus with this student. We are an RSU, so we have buses that go everywhere.”
Charette said the student was on was a Manchester bus, which had students from the middle and high school on it. The bus has since been deep cleaned in accordance with instructions from the Maine CDC.
Maranacook Community Middle School will be fully remote learning until Oct. 13, Charette said. Maranacook Community High School will be fully remote until Thursday, so the school may undergo a deep cleaning.
Officials said they did not think the “probably positive” student would have had much contact with high school students, except those who were on the bus. Those students’ families have been contacted about the possible exposure to COVID-19.
The Regional School Unit 38 community was alerted through a letter written by Charette and posted on the district’s website.
RSU 38 is heightening its coronavirus response by using a smartphone application called RUVNA, which tracks symptoms that students may have from parents’ input.
The symptoms are then sent to the school nurse, who is notified of students who may not feel well or parents that may have questions.
Families without a smartphone may use paper forms to screen their children.
“We really need parents and families to pay attention to new symptoms and have their student stay home, if they don’t feel well,” Charette said. “If we make sure no one comes to school feeling ill, we can keep it (COVID-19) out of school.”
RSU 38 officials have assigned students to three cohorts: A, B or a fully remote C. The cohort approach uses a hybrid model to rotate students between in-person and remote classes.
Mount Vernon, Readfield and Wayne elementary schools will continue attending school in their cohorts.
RSU 38 Athletic Director Brant Remington took to Twitter Monday afternoon to announce that all athletic events will be postponed from Monday to Wednesday, resuming Thursday, Oct 1.
All athletic events have been postponed today (9/28), tomorrow (9/29), and Wednesday (9/30). pic.twitter.com/PYsWzZcjhP
— MaranacookAD (@MaranacookAD) September 28, 2020
On Friday, the state announced Oxford County had been elevated from green to yellow on the Maine Department of Education’s coronavirus safety color scale. Meantime, Androscoggin County was placed on cautionary watch.
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