BUCKFIELD — A student at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford has tested positive for COVID-19, Regional School Unit 10 Superintendent Deb Alden said at Monday’s meeting of the Regional School Unit 10 board of directors.

Because the student also attends the Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico and had not yet attended Mountain Valley High School since it opened Sept. 8, officials have not closed the school for cleaning or other pandemic precautions.

Region 9 opted to shut down for 72 hours, however, for cleaning and also reported a second student with COVID-19, who attends RSU 56’s Dirigo High School in Dixfield and Region 9.

RSU 56 schools are closed for 72 hours for cleaning.

As of Tuesday afternoon, RSU 56 officials reported more than one person had tested positive for COVID-19, and that the schools will close for 14 days, reopening Sept. 29.

All students will receive remote instruction while schools are closed.

“In our case, our nurse called the CDC (Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention), and the CDC does the contact tracing,” Alden said, “so they were working with Region 9 to determine which students met the definition of being exposed — which is 15 or more minutes of being together.”

In the case of the two students at the technology school, they and other students in the early childhood and automotive programs were requested to quarantine for 14 days, Alden said.

In other matters, the board decided fall sports, including soccer and field hockey, will be played this season at RSU 10 schools.

Football, deemed a high-risk sport for COVID-19 contact probabilities, will not have games against other schools.

“They’ve been practicing skills,” Alden said, “and (athletic directors) said there are things like flag football, things like Punt, Pass and Kick skills that could take place.”

Although school board action was not necessary in the decision to play fall sports, the board gave its unanimous approval for play to go on — with restrictions, including mask wearing and 6 feet of social distancing.

Due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions for Maine schools and sports teams, the board questioned the safety of playing certain fall sports, such as football, field hockey and soccer.

“We will follow the guidance of the Maine Principals’ Association, Department of Education and Center for Disease Control that comes (with) the sports that we have going on this fall,” Alden said.

RSU 10 schools include Mountain Valley High School and Middle School and Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, which will only participate with other sports teams from Oxford and Franklin counties, and will not compete against teams that have had positive COVID-19 tests, according to Alden.

At Monday’s meeting, Cortney Sirois, athletic director of Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, and Tom Danylik, athletic director at Mountain Valley High School, explained how they and the students will follow the health and safety guidelines from the MPA, DOE and CDC.

Besides the two athletic directors, almost a dozen students from MVHS and BJSHS who play fall sports spoke to the board about their desire to compete this fall and their promise to follow safety precautions for mask wearing, social distancing and other health regulations during the pandemic.

The student-athletes who spoke at the meeting included Kayden Haylock and Ruby Cyr of Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, and Sarah-Jane Koch, Sophie Ladd, Rylee Sevigny, Alana Young, Alexis Baltrus, Caleb Frisbie and Riley Bedard of Mountain Valley High School.

Abbey Rice of Rumford, an RSU 10 director, told the two athletic directors she had safety concerns about student-athletes competing against students from other districts.

Danylik said only moderate- or low-risk sports, such as soccer and golf, would be played with other districts in adjacent counties, such as Franklin County.

“Emergency action plans are being set up and put in place, if need be,” Sirois said. “We have a mostly full-time athletic trainer here at BJSHS, and she is trained and well versed in all of the protocols of COVID-19. If need be, we are ready to protect all.”

Sirois also said the district’s Mountain Valley Sports Conference will not allow spectators at games. Instead, games will be livestreamed.

“Yes, there will be risks, but quite frankly I know a lot of students depend on sports; you know we have quite an audience tonight,” said Colby Volkernick, the MVHS student board representative. “It is very important to them, so we want to take an approach that has an overall (consideration) of everything.”

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RSU 10 logo. RSU 10 Facebook page.


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