A staff member at Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education located at Waterville Senior High School tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday, prompting the closure of that wing of the school and requiring students to learn remotely until Jan. 4.

Waterville Schools Superintendent Eric Haley emailed the school community Wednesday saying deep cleaning will be done starting Wednesday in the adult community education wing, where students and staff enter and exit only from that department and do not mix with the high school population.

“All staff will be quarantined for 14 days as their safety and the safety of their students is of the utmost importance right now,” Haley’s email says. He said that, because of the likelihood the person who tested positive for COVID-19 had contact with others, the program is shutting down.

The adult and community education program serves students from surrounding towns.

Haley said in a phone interview Wednesday that school officials do not think students were exposed to the infected staff member, and they are now investigating with whom that staff member had contact. He said he doesn’t think she was infected at the school.

“We doubt very much it was in the school because we’ve not had any other cases from that particular department,” he said.

Haley said one other COVID-19 case was reported over the weekend at Mid-Maine Technical Center, which also is located at the high school, and involved a Winslow student.

“One of our classes is completely remote right now — the one that he was in — and the teacher and students are quarantined,” he said.

Meanwhile, Haley said the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends that two windows in the backs of school buses be kept open, as well as two in the front — on either side of the buses. That way, if someone tests positive, the whole school bus would not have to quarantine, according to Haley.

Exposure, he said, is defined as being within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more, or within a confined space. A bus with no windows open is considered a confined space, he said.

“Bus drivers were informed of that today,” Haley said. “Dress warmer — your bus is going to be cold.”

CLINTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

The superintendent in Maine School Administrative District 49 reported another case of COVID-19 within the Fairfield-area district Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to seven since the school year began.

In a letter posted Tuesday to the MSAD 49 website, Superintendent Roberta Hersom wrote that a student at Clinton Elementary School had tested positive.

MSAD 49 serves the towns of Albion, Benton, Clinton and Fairfield.

“The school was notified today by a KVCAP (Kennebec Valley Community Action Program) staff member of the positive result of one student in the Pre-K program,” Hersom wrote. “Principal Gordon and Nurse Natasha Barton have been in contact with the Maine DOE (Department of Education) school nurse consultant, and I have spoken with a school liaison from the Maine CDC.”

According to Hersom, 10 students, two KVCAP staff members and two Clinton Elementary staff members have been identified as close contacts and have been advised to quarantine.

This announcement comes one day after Hersom announced that an outbreak had been declared at Benton Elementary School after three staff members tested positive within a 14-day time period.

Benton Elementary School was closed Tuesday and is set to reopen Friday, Hersom said.

The growing number of cases in the district coincides with the uptick of cases sweeping the state. On Wednesday, 405 new cases were reported, up from a previous one-day record of 349 that was set last Wednesday.

Seven deaths were reported Wednesday.

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