READFIELD — Students at Maranacook Community High School will be remote for the rest of the week after a spike in coronavirus cases has left the school short staffed.

As of Wednesday, only the high school has been impacted. The other schools within Regional School Unit 38 — Maranacook Community Middle School and Wayne, Manchester and Readfield elementary schools — will continue in-person learning, but school officials are reminding students to monitor symptoms of illness.

At the high school, there have been 20 COVID-19 cases reported among students since Monday and five cases among staff members, Superintendent Jay Charette said in an interview Wednesday morning. Some employees had already scheduled absences ahead of the wave of illnesses, compounding the staffing concerns.

“We are trying to remind people there are still things we should be doing that are important,” Charette said. “Things haven’t disappeared, COVID-19 isn’t gone and we have to be smart about it.”

Charette told the Kennebec Journal that school officials are “not sure why” the high school has seen an uptick in cases and are “trying to figure it out.” But, it’s “very concerning,” he added.

In a letter to the community Wednesday afternoon, the superintendent reminded families to use the COVID-19 screeners before sending students to school and said it is “very important to identify symptoms and seek guidance.”

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“We urge everyone to be on the side of caution over the course of the next several weeks to help curb any future spread of COVID,” Charette wrote. “Stay home if you are sick.”

After-school activities will continue Wednesday and Friday but not Thursday when staff members will be cleaning the building.

The high school is expected to resume in person on April 4.

Charette announced March 18 that he would no longer publish weekly updates regarding COVID-19 cases but would resume doing so if cases rose. The last count, almost two weeks ago, included one staff case, eight COVID-19 cases in the elementary schools and none in the middle or high school.


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