READFIELD — Regional School Unit 38 Superintendent Jay Charette announced Tuesday afternoon that Maranacook Community High School is being categorized as having an “outbreak” of coronavirus cases.

Charette said in a letter to the community that the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention determined the high school as having an outbreak — defined as three or more cases from three different households within a 14-day period — but there is “no evidence” of transmission of COVID-19 within the school building.

“It simply means that MCHS meets the criteria for outbreak status,” Charette wrote.

Charette said the high school will continue in-person learning and the outbreak status will not impact the schedule. He said an outbreak status and learning model are “independent” of each other.

The last COVID-19 case MCHS announced to the community was Jan. 25, when Charette said a staff member had the virus.

According to Kelli Deveaux, Maine Department of Education spokesperson, an “outbreak does not mean that a school must close any or all of their classrooms, but that there are cases linked to the school population that warrant additional review.”

She said that the Maine CDC and DOE look at outbreaks on a case-by-case basis. For example, Deveaux said, if a cohort was impacted by a positive COVID-19 case, that would look different than an individual that hasn’t been at school since contracting the virus.

“Each situation is nuanced and based on multiple details and considerations, and therefore our nurses and consulting team and colleagues at the CDC assist each school through this process,” she said. “Our data clearly indicates that school-based new case rates are significantly lower than that of the general population and that these practices are working.”

Deveaux was referring to practices of social distancing, mask-wearing and healthy sanitation habits.

In Regional School Unit 2, contact tracing was announced Monday at Richmond High School and Monmouth Academy.

Richmond High School has one positive case that prompted students to switch to remote learning Wednesday, lasting through Monday. RSU 2 Superintendent Tonya Arnold said Richmond Middle School students were not impacted by the case at the high school.

At Monmouth Academy one positive case was detected and did not impact the learning schedule, because the positive case Jan. 28 had already switched students into remote learning until Feb. 5.

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