Michael J. McQuarrie, headmaster at Erskine Academy in China, holds part of a 22-page COVID-19 guidebook that students received as they returned to the academy. With a third reported case of COVID-19 within two weeks, the school has transitioned to remote learning until the end of November. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file Buy this Photo

Following the discovery of a third case of COVID-19 in the past two weeks, Erskine Academy is transitioning to fully remote learning beginning Wednesday for just under two weeks.

The announcement of a third positive COVID-19 case was made Tuesday. The China-based school made the decision and notified the community in a letter written by Headmaster Michael McQuarrie.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and given the frequency of confirmed positive cases in our area,” McQuarrie wrote, “Erskine Academy will transition to fully-remote learning (red) beginning Wednesday, November 18, 2020, with a planned return to hybrid learning (yellow) on Monday, November 30, 2020.”

The school previously reported isolated cases on Nov. 14 and Nov. 6. McQuarrie wrote there has been no evidence of in-school transmission.

“Notably, our three cases to date are unrelated, and each transmission has been traced to a community setting or event outside of the school,” McQuarrie wrote. “We have had no cases of in-school transmission.”

Erskine Academy is a private school but serves mostly publicly funded students. Students from Chelsea, China, Jefferson, Palermo, Somerville, Vassalboro, Whitefield and Windsor get their tuition paid for by the town if they choose to attend the school. About 97% of the school’s 540 students are publicly funded by their towns to go to the school.

Students were attending school using a cohort model, with students last names beginning with A-K attending in-person Mondays and Tuesdays and remote the rest of the week. Students with last names L-Z attend in-person Thursdays and Fridays. There is also a fully remote group. Wednesdays are sanitation days where all students learn remotely.

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