Two superintendents in central Maine school districts, Fairfield-based Maine School Administrative District 49 and Bingham-based Maine School Administrative District 13, have announced multiple positive tests in students and staff.

The cases have prompted some schools to shift to fully remote learning until Nov. 30.

Superintendent Roberta Hersom at MSAD 49 announced that Lawrence Junior High School closed after two students and a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

When the announcement was first made Wednesday afternoon, district officials had confirmation of just one positive case of COVID-19 in a student.

Hersom updated students and families in a letter posted Thursday to the district website. The letter stated two more positive cases were detected, one in a second student and another in a staff member from the junior high school.

“It has come to our attention that a second student at Lawrence Junior High School has tested positive for COVID-19,” Hersom wrote. “At this time, Lawrence Junior High School will remain in remote learning mode until November 30 — there will be no in-person instruction during this period.”

In the district’s hybrid instruction model students alternate between in-person instruction and remote learning.

Hersom said that the district has been communicating with Emily Poland, the Maine Department of Education’s school nurse consultant, and the Center for Disease Control.

“The reopening date is the first school day following a quarantine period resulting from three positive cases in the school, involving one staff member and two students,” Hersom wrote. “Close contacts have been identified, and close contacts from the first two cases have been notified. At this time, 98 students and 17 staff members have been asked to quarantine.”

Although the junior high school is in close proximity to Lawrence High School, Hersom said that no students or staff at the high school have been identified as close contacts with those who tested positive.

“Though in the same complex,  junior high students and high school students do not have common classroom spaces, common bell schedules and passing periods, or common teachers,” Hersom said. “Each school utilizes its own cafeteria and gymnasium. With the exception of the junior co-curricular band and choral programs which are not involved in these cases, these student populations are separated during the school day. Staff are also asked to ensure physical distancing during their non-instructional time.”

This is the district’s fourth case of COVID-19 after a student at Clinton Elementary School tested positive last month.

BINGHAM BASED MSAD 13

Two staff members at Upper Kennebec Valley Jr./Sr. High School have tested positive for COVID-19, joining the one student who tested positive and prompted the superintendent to close the school and shift to remote learning Tuesday.

Superintendent Sandra MacArthur confirmed Thursday that the two additional cases of COVID-19 were among staff members, but transmission did not happen within the school hallways.

On Tuesday around 8:30 a.m., students were sent home after the district was informed of the positive case in a student.

MacArthur added that all proper protocols are being followed at the school, including wearing masks and social distancing. At this time, Moscow Elementary School remains open.

“We continue to be very diligent to keep our staff and students safe, and we encourage our community to do the same,” MacArthur said. “That includes wearing masks. We’re relying on them to do their part to allow us to remain open.”

MacArthur said in a phone call Tuesday that there are approximately 90 students at the junior/senior high school and 180 districtwide. Students who are working remotely are equipped with technology and resumed remote learning Thursday, which will continue through Nov. 30.

Because of the upcoming holiday, students were not scheduled to be in the school from Nov. 23 to the 27.

The district comprises students from Bingham, Moscow, Athens and unorganized territories.

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