The Cony Middle and High School building in Augusta. Due to the number of COVID-19 cases reported over the past week, student learning will be remote the rest of this week, according to school officials. Next week is school vacation. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file Buy this Photo

AUGUSTA — Cony Middle and High School is in an “outbreak” status because of the number of COVID-19 cases at the school from the past two weeks, officials said, and students will learn remotely for the rest of the week.

The Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention considers an outbreak in a school as three or more positive coronavirus cases from two different households within the past 14 days.

Cony has sent out five positive COVID-19 notifications in the past week, but the total number of cases as of Tuesday was unclear.

Students at both the middle and high school will be remote for the remainder of the week, according to a letter posted online from Principal Kim Silsby. Sports will be canceled until Sunday and will be scheduled to resume on Monday, April 19.

The school’s April vacation break was already scheduled to start Friday and continue through all of next week, so remote learning would occur Wednesday and Thursday this week.

“The CDC recognizes that an outbreak status does not necessarily warrant a school closure or indicate that there is direct evidence of in-school transmission; however, we believe at this time it is best for our students and staff to be remote for Wednesday and Thursday,” Silsby wrote. “We continue to believe there is large evidence to support community-based transmission and limited evidence for in-school transmission regarding these cases.”

Cony has previously reported a handful of COVID cases, although none had previously prompted administrators to switch the entire school to remote learning. Augusta Public Schools have largely been operating under a hybrid learning model — some days remote and some in-person — this school year during the pandemic, although students went fully remote for two weeks after the holiday season.

All Maine schools continue to be classified as “green” under the state Department of Education color-coded system, meaning there’s a low enough risk of COVID spread that schools may consider offering in-person instruction.

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