Students at the Carrabec Community School head out of class on May 31, 2019, for the weekend. The start of school has been delayed a week, officials announced, after a student in the school district tested positive for COVID-19. School is now expected to reopen Sept. 8. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file photo

NORTH ANSON — Schools in the Carrabec district have delayed opening after a student tested positive for coronavirus.

Mike Tracy, superintendent of the district that serves the towns of Anson, Embden, New Portland, North Anson and Solon, sent a memo out to the community on Monday evening saying that schools and after-school activities will be closed this week but plan to reopen on Sept. 8.

According to the school’s website, the district has opted for a hybrid reopening that includes students being dismissed at 12:30 p.m. Students in grades K-8 will be at school on a two-day per week schedule on either Tuesdays and Thursdays or Wednesdays and Fridays.

The news out of the Carrabec district comes as schools across the state this week either began opening classrooms or are preparing to in the coming weeks. State education officials last week said all 16 Maine counties still have the “green light” to potentially resume in-classroom instruction, but plan to update a color-coded assessment every two weeks.

Schools that have a green designation still have to abide by a long list of health and safety protocols to resume classroom instruction.

Carrabec High School will operate on an every-other-day schedule, the district’s website says.

“Out of extreme caution, and with new information, RSU #74 school officials will work with Maine Centers for Disease Control on a proper response to the positive case in our school community,” Tracy said in a letter on Monday. “All schools will be closed this week to students, and all after school activities are also canceled. We will plan to officially open on September 8th.”

“This will help ensure your family’s safety. The individual schools will be reaching out with information this week on next steps, supplies for remote learners and other relevant information.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Tracy sent another memo out to families confirming that a student within the school system tested positive. The district is working in accordance with the school department’s standard operating procedures and worked alongside the family to ensure that the student is safe and contact information for tracing is being gathered.

“After assessing potential exposure issues in collaboration with the School Department physician and CDC, the School Department chose to delay the beginning of the school year until September 8, 2020 to protect the students and staff,” the memo said.

Carrabec’s delay of school is the latest of a string of postponements as officials and parents in Maine and across the country grapple with the question of whether students should be returning to classrooms as well as the safety of sports and other extracurricular activities.

State health and education officials on Tuesday recommended delaying high school sports programs this fall, pointing to a number of concerns with guidelines announced by the Maine Principals’ Association that would allow all sports this fall.

Carrabec’s school reopening plan, published in early August, doesn’t explicitly mention sports except to mention that after-school activities “will be limited since buildings will be closed” for cleaning by 3 p.m.

In the event of a COVID-19 positive case by students or staff, the school said the ill person must be in home isolation until they meet criteria for returning to school, following CDC and education department protocols.

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