OAKLAND — Regional School Unit 18 Superintendent Carl Gartley sent a letter to parents Sunday evening announcing another two positive COVID-19 cases within the district.

A person associated with Williams Elementary School in Oakland and another person connected with the district tested positive over the weekend, Gartley wrote in his full-page letter, which was delivered by email.

All close contacts have been contacted and quarantining.

“As we come back to school after Thanksgiving break, we do have a few more incidents involving COVID-19 that I need to share with people,” Gartley wrote.

RSU 18 serves about 2,500 students across its eight schools. About 85% of the district’s students, who come from Belgrade, China, Oakland, Rome and Sidney, are attending school in person five days a week under the district’s hybrid learning model.

RSU 18 has reported six cases of COVID-19 infection this school year. A case associated with Messalonskee High School was reported Oct. 23, a single case within the district Oct. 22 and cases involving two students at James H. Bean Elementary School on Oct. 20.


“Our goals for this year remain the same: First and foremost, to keep our students and staff safe and also to provide our students with the quality education they deserve,” Gartley wrote.

“If closing a school is needed to keep people safe, that is what will happen without hesitation. If we can keep people safe by taking other precautions, that is the path we will follow.”

Individuals associated with five different RSU 18 schools reported being in contact with others who had tested positive or is presumed positive for COVID-19 during Thanksgiving break, which began Wednesday.

Because this exposure happened during the break, there is no in-school exposure attributed to the situation, according to Gartley.

All told, four staff members and three students reported being in close contact with individuals who had tested positive or were presumed positive. Of these seven people, those associated with RSU 18 schools are mostly close contacts. One person from this group has tested positive.

“These exposures happened during break, so there has been no further exposure that we are aware of for staff or students in these cases,” Gartley wrote.


The person associated with Williams Elementary School reported symptoms earlier in the week, so contact tracing has includes others connected to the school. The group considered to be close contacts involves three teachers and about 30 students, Gartley wrote Sunday evening in his email.

All have been notified and are quarantining.

The students in quarantine will transition to remote learning, but RSU 18 schools will remain open for all other students, who will continue to study under the hybrid plan.

“The exposure was limited to this group of students and staff and was limited exposure,” Gartley wrote. “However, after consulting with state officials, our school nurse and the principal, this was the best decision we could make to ensure the safety of our school community.

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