RICHMOND — Marcia Buker Elementary School in Richmond is undergoing contact tracing for the coronavirus, school officials said Thursday night.

Regional School Unit 2 Superintendent Tonya Arnold

Tonya Arnold, superintendent in Regional School Unit 2, informed members of the school community through email and a news post on the district’s website.

“We must do contact tracing each time we are notified that there is a case for even one person who may have a connection to our school,” Arnold wrote in an email to the Kennebec Journal. “We were notified of one positive test that has some connection to Marcia Buker.”

Dresden Elementary School reported a positive test at the beginning of the week, but Arnold said the incidents at the two schools are separate.

Both schools have switched to remote learning, but Marcia Buker Elementary School is set to return Monday to its hybrid model. And some schools in the district are planning to bring students back to schools four days a week, beginning Monday.

RSU 2’s Coronavirus Response Team is meeting weekly to discuss the district’s next steps for handling the coronavirus pandemic. The team released a letter Thursday night, following the Marcia Buker announcement, that laid out plans to bring students back for more in-person learning.

“We all recognize that it is best to have students in as many days per week as possible,” the team wrote in the letter. “To end that, we have been working on the plan for the return of as many elementary students as possible for more days of in-person instruction.”

The letter added that on Monday, Hall-Dale Elementary School will bring students to school four days a week, instead of the original two-days-per-week hybrid plan.

Marcia Buker is planning to do the same with prekindergarten students, with the hope of having kindergarten students at school four days a week over the next two weeks.

The district’s other elementary schools — Dresden Elementary School and Monmouth Memorial School — do not have room to socially distance all of their students four days a week.

It is unclear if contact tracing has interfered with any of these plans.

The RSU 2 Coronavirus Response Team is also preparing for the possibility that remote learning might be a reality for weeks or months at a time.

“The benefit of our current life in the middle is the fact that our current hybrid model allows for smaller groups of students which limits exposure to a positive case,” the letter reads. “The impact limit allows larger groups of students to continue attending school when other quarantine.”

Maine has seen a surge this week in coronavirus cases, reporting 103 new cases Friday morning, according to the state Center for Disease Control & Prevention.

Arnold said there will be a decision by the end of the day Friday on whether school can resume normally at Marcia Buker Elementary on Monday.

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