Positive tests for COVID-19 have been reported in Skowhegan-based Maine School Administrative District 54, Fairfield-based Maine School Administrative District 49 and Oakland-based Regional School Unit 18. Quarantining has been imposed on those exposed to the virus, but schools remain open.

MSAD 54

Maine School Administrative District 54 announced in a letter Monday on the district website that two positive cases of COVID-19 associated with people from the school district had been reported, and the Somerset Career & Technical Center also reported a student had tested positive.

One of the two SAD 54 cases involves a districtwide staff member who has had limited contact with others. The second involves a student at Skowhegan Area Middle School.

The district has contacted Maine Department of Education and Center for Disease Control & Prevention and has begun contact tracing.

Because there were minimal additional contacts, only seven people must quarantine.

In addition to these cases, two other positive cases have been reported in the district, but those people have not been at school. No recommendation to take additional actions beyond quarantining has been made.

The district will continue to communicate with the state agencies and will reach out if the situation changes.

David Dorr, director of the Somerset Career & Technical Center, wrote in a letter posted Friday on the MSAD 54 website the center is working with nursing staff members from the district and the Maine DOE to determine contact exposure to the infected student at the center.

“The cohorting work we have done had its intended impact, as no students and only two staff are being asked to quarantine as a result of the positive case,” Dorr wrote.

MSAD 54 serves students from Canaan, Cornville, Mercer, Norridgewock, Skowhegan and Smithfield.

MSAD 49

MSAD 49 Superintendent Roberta Hersom announced Sunday two positive cases were identified within the district. One case was reported at Benton Elementary School and the other at Lawrence High School in Fairfield.

Hersom said the case at Benton Elementary School had resulted in 36 students and two staff members identified as close contacts.

No close contacts were identified at Lawrence High School, Hersom said.

“School nurses were in contact with the Maine DOE, and I have notified the Maine CDC,” Hersom wrote in a letter posted to the district’s website Sunday. “School staff have notified those individuals involved, and environmental cleaning has been completed in the building.”

Last week, an outbreak was declared at Lawrence High School after a third case of COVID-19 within a three-day period was identified Jan. 4.

It was the second outbreak the district has dealt with since the beginning of the school year, with the first occurring at Benton Elementary School.

An outbreak was declared in December after three staff members tested positive within a 14-day period.

In total, the district has reported 18 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the school year.

MSAD 49 serves students from Albion, Benton, Clinton and Fairfield.

RSU 18

Regional School Unit 18 announced a positive case of COVID-19 on Sunday morning associated with Messalonskee High School in Oakland.

In a letter to the community, RSU 18 Superintendent Carl Gartley wrote the district had been notified of the positive case Friday, and all close contacts have been identified and contacted.

“We are following the CDC guidelines, and the consistent manner that cases are being dealt with has been helpful,” Gartley wrote. “I thank all of the amazing RSU 18 staff, our students and parents for your persistence as we all continue to deal with the stress of this year.”

RSU 18 serves about 2,500 students from Belgrade, China, Oakland, Rome and Sidney. Messalonskee High School enrolls 729 students.

The school does not have to modify its five-day-a-week, in-person learning for the more than 85% of students who chose the option. The other students learn fully remotely.

Gartley wrote he learned last weekend of a local day care center with a positive case, which forced a handful of staff members and students into quarantine because they were close contacts. Some of the exposure was outside of school, Gartley wrote.

“While none of these led to shutdowns of our schools, they were a brutal reminder of the challenges in our towns,” Gartley wrote.

Gartley also wrote to parents he had spoken with two members of the Maine CDC medical consulting team and a physician contracted by the Maine DOE to review protocols and best practices. Gartley wrote there were “several” incidents of students being sent to school who should have been kept home.

Gartley also touched on the latest coronavirus relief package, writing the district has not been told how much money it will receive. The district has hired more than two dozen additional support staff members and part-time custodians because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our best guess based on early signs is that these funds will give us the ability to continue the practices that have made us successful this year,” Gartley wrote.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.