HALLOWELL — Parents of students in Regional School Unit 2 got an education Tuesday night about the district’s coronavirus response and plans for the upcoming weeks.

RSU 2 Superintendent Tonya Arnold and school officials and answered questions for parents during a Zoom meeting Tuesday night, and after three schools in RSU 2 reported positive COVID-19 tests.

Hall-Dale Elementary, Marcia Buker Elementary School and Monmouth Memorial School have all reported cases in the past month.

Arnold outlined the procedure schools follow when they find out about a positive coronavirus case. She said that there are a number of people involved in the process.

Most of the time, schools are telling the Maine Center for Disease Control about the cases.

“We look around the day that the student (with the positive case) was present, and we make a list of names and share it with the CDC,” Arnold said. “They tell us when to start calling parents, and we have a script that we follow that tells information about how to check for symptoms and where they can call for more information.”


The CDC follows up with families after Arnold, nurses and secretaries from the schools call the parents of students that were within close contact. The CDC then calls daily, asking if any symptoms have arisen and tells the individual for how long they should quarantine.

Arnold said the time between the call from the school and then from the CDC has, on average, been three to seven days.

Monmouth Memorial School nurse Beth Luce said RSU 2 is in the process of implementing rapid testing for staff and students that may start developing symptoms at school.

“We are just in the beginning stages,” she said. “There is a lot of steps to it, but we have been offered it.”

Hillary Roberts, a parent of two Hall-Dale Elementary School students, asked Arnold what it would look like if RSU 2 went into a total shutdown like it did last spring.

Even though the district currently has a green designation, Arnold said it is operating under a yellow model for learning because the schools need to have a hybrid schedule in order to appropriately socially distance classrooms. Under a “true” yellow model, however, sports and activities would not be able to happen.


“In red, everyone is remote,” Arnold said. “We do feel like if it’s like the ‘Stay at Home’ order, and no schools are able to open, and the indoor gathering limits are still 50 people and under, we may be able to serve some kids that don’t have internet or may need special services. Those are the things that we have to look at.”

While all of Kennebec County is under a green designation, Maine State Administrative District 11 has had to use a fully remote “red” model, because of multiple coronavirus cases among the schools in the Gardiner area.

Dr. Nathan Harmon, another RSU 2 parent, is worried about younger students in grades kindergarten to six that may have to stay home if the district shifts to “red” because of parents working. He asked school officials if there was anything in place to implement child care for younger students.

“Those are conversations that are being had,” said Mark Tinkham, Hall-Dale Middle & High School principal.

Deb Murphy, the district’s director of special education, said she thinks there will be an increase in meetings with the Maine Principal’s Association and other educational leaders as Maine’s COVID-19 case numbers go up. She said she expects there will be more answers soon for Harmon’s question.

RSU 2 has not decided to be remote the week after Thanksgiving like the Augusta Public Schools have.

“Maine cases have been on the rise, but luckily the schools haven’t been impacted that much,” Arnold said. “I think the short answer on that is that we have not decided on that or considered it on an official level. We are watching it every day, and in a week and a half things could change.

“I think that if there was a surge during the five-day holiday break, and we do close,” she added, “it would be because the number of people that are out make it so we can’t have school.”

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