Two Augusta-area schools reported COVID-19 outbreaks over the weekend, according to district officials.
Farrington Elementary School in Augusta reported one case Friday afternoon, through a letter written by Superintendent James Anastasio and posted to the public school’s website.
The other infection was reported at Whitefield Elementary School, part of Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit 12.
Because it was the third positive coronavirus case at Farrington, it moved the school into “outbreak” status, in accordance with Maine Center for Disease Control Prevention guidelines.
“There is a possibility that staff members and many students came into contact with this individual and therefore may have been exposed to the virus,” Anastasio wrote.
The outbreak has caused Farrington Elementary to move to remote learning from through Nov. 24, just before the Thanksgiving break.
The Augusta Board of Education has voted to move the school system to remote learning the full week after Thanksgiving break to minimize potential spread from over the holiday.
Anastasio wrote in his letter that the week and a half will be used for “deep cleaning” and “contact tracing.” He added that those who were within close contact of the infected individual will be contacted by Farrington administrators.
Last week, Hussey Elementary and Lincoln Elementary, both part of the Augusta Public Schools, announced positive COVID-19 cases. Hussey students were learning remotely until Monday.
“It is unfortunate that we are all dealing with an interruption to school and inconvenience and frustration as a result, but the health and safety of students and staff is more important,” Anastasio wrote.
Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, mentioned the Augusta outbreak during his Monday press conference, noting it was part of 11 outbreaks reported this past weekend, including at Farrington.
Shah said one student and three staff members have tested positive.
A letter posted to Whitefield Elementary School’s website, written by Superintendent Howard Tuttle, included that school officials “determined that there may have been limited exposure to individuals at Whitefield Elementary.” Tuttle wrote that the cases are from different cohorts.
Last Friday, it was reported there was one positive COVID-19 case at Whitefield and one probable positive at Windsor.
“We have people getting tested and we have not gotten those results back yet,” Tuttle said Friday. “We know there is potential for more cases.”
The school switched Monday from in-person learning to remote learning, which will continue until Nov. 30.
Instructions for how families can pick up devices for remote learning are on the school’s Facebook page.
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