READFIELD — A staffing shortage driven by an uptick in COVID-19 cases at Maranacook Community High School will keep students learning remotely through at least Tuesday, officials said.

Jay Charette, superintendent of Regional School Unit 38, made the announcement Monday afternoon in a letter to the community, citing staffing as “continuing to be a challenge.”

The district, which includes Manchester, Mount Vernon, Readfield and Wayne, is expected to make day-to-day decisions on when to resume in-person learning, according to Charette.

The high school has been holding classes remotely for a week.

Charette said a report has been filed with the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention concerning the number of cases the district has seen in the past week.

As of Friday, 28 student cases were reported at the high school. The four elementary schools reported nine cases, and Maranacook Community Middle School reported one.

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Eight staff members also reported having COVID-19.

Guidelines from the Maine CDC and state Department of Education stipulate a school is in “outbreak status” if more than 15% of those at the school are absent, in line with the state’s long-standing definition of an outbreak for other infectious diseases.

Robert Long, the state CDC’s spokesperson, would not confirm whether Maranacook Community High School has met the “outbreak” threshold, but said an investigator is looking into the cases.

Charette urged families to use the COVID-19 symptom screener, and said the school nurse could provide curbside testing, if needed.

“The goal is to return to in person learning as quickly as possible and this can only be accomplished if we have accurate information as well as use proven mitigation measures,” Charette wrote in Friday’s letter. “Practice hand hygiene, distance whenever possible and know wearing a mask, although optional, may help limit the spread.”

At other Augusta-area schools districts, Regional School Unit 2 reported 13 COVID-19 cases last week across the district, which includes Dresden, Farmingdale, Hallowell, Monmouth and Richmond.

Nine of the cases were at Marcia Buker Elementary School or Richmond Middle and High School. The week before last, nine cases were reported districtwide.

In Maine School Administrative District 11, 12 COVID-19 cases were reported as of Friday: 10 among students and two involving staff members. MSAD 11 enrolls students from Gardiner, Pittston, Randolph and West Gardiner.

The Winthrop Public Schools reported three students and two staff members with COVID-19 as of Friday.

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