One person at Scarborough Middle School has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the superintendent of schools.

In a notification sent Sunday to families and members of the school community, Superintendent Sanford Prince IV did not identify the person as a student, teacher, staff member or a visitor, only as a “person from Scarborough Middle School.”

Prince, who provided the Portland Press Herald with a copy of the notice, went on to explain there is a possibility the person may have come into contact with staff members or students, exposing them to the highly contagious virus. Prince said this is the first case of COVID-19 in the Scarborough public schools since the district reopened last month.

“We are informing you out of an abundance of caution,” he said. “Please monitor yourself and your student for signs and symptoms. Call a health care provider if symptoms start.”

According to Prince, the infected individual was at Scarborough Middle School on Thursday and Friday of last week. More than 700 students in grades 6, 7 and 8 attend the middle school.

The school district’s medical staff and administrators are currently working with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to mitigate the impact, and to identify “close contacts,” Prince said. Close contacts are defined as anyone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.

Scarborough is using a hybrid learning model, which involves a combination of part-time in person learning and part-time remote learning sessions. The hybrid plan was adopted by the School Board on July 30. In his notice, Prince made no mention of how the COVID-19 case at the middle school will affect classes going forward.

Prince told families and the school community that they will be contacted directly within the next 24 hours if they are identified as a close contact of the person who tested positive. If they are contacted, he said, they will need to quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure to the infected person – a Maine CDC guideline. Even having a negative test result does not replace the need for someone to quarantine, he said.

“Thanks to the protocols in place, we received timely communication about this individual,” Prince said.

Anyone with questions should call school nurses Patty Bolduc or Amanda Eason at 730-4800 or email them at [email protected] or [email protected]

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that ranges from mild to severe. It can be more severe in adults who are 60 years of age or older and in those persons with underlying medical conditions. The virus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and an uninfected person breathes in the virus. Health experts have said that masks or face coverings can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Signs and symptoms may include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath  or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

The Maine CDC recommends that people wash their hands with soap and warm water, which is especially important after using the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. When soap and water are not available, people can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. The agency also urges people to avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

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