MEXICO — The Regional School Unit 10 board of directors will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday to decide under what conditions to close a school because of the coronavirus and switch to online learning exclusively.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford.

Superintendent Deb Alden posted a letter on the district website Friday stating a student at Meroby Elementary School in Mexico had contracted COVID-19.

“Any students or staff who have had 15 or more minutes of direct contact with the student last Tuesday (Sept. 15) have been identified and notified and will be quarantining for 14 days from the exposure,” she wrote. The student did not ride in any RSU 10 vehicle.

Athletics and co-curricular activities in the district were to be put on hold and re-evaluated Sept. 24,  Alden said.

“We’re taking every situation seriously and we look into everything we hear,” Alden said Monday. “We have our own person through (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that consults with us and we also consult with our epidemiologist in the area.”

Also on Sept. 15, an RSU 10 student attending Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico tested positive for COVID-19. That student had only attended the technology school and not Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, Alden said last week.

The technical school opted to close its buildings for 72 hours to clean and disinfect because another student from RSU 56 in Dixfield also tested positive for the virus.

RSU 56 opted to close its buildings for 14 days after two cases were reported last week. They will reopen Sept. 29. In the meantime, students are learning online.

RSU 10’s students started classes Sept. 8, and families were given the option of full in-school or online instruction. Elementary school students whose families have chosen in-school learning have been in class each weekday except Wednesday, which is online learning for all students.

The district’s high school students doing in-school learning have been separated into two cohorts, with one group attending classes Mondays and Tuesdays and the other on Thursdays and Fridays. All students do online classes Wednesdays.

According to RSU 10 Assistant Superintendent Leanne Condon, the percentage of students learning online only are: 18.4% from Buckfield Junior-Senior High School; 20% from Hartford-Sumner Elementary School in Sumner; 33% from Meroby Elementary School; 21.6% from Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico; 23.5% from Mountain Valley High School in Rumford; and 32.6% from Rumford Elementary School.

Families will be allowed to switch plans from online classes only to in-school classes only, or the reverse on Oct. 2, Condon said.

“If there is space available at the elementary schools (after Oct. 2), parents can choose to change their children from fully remote to in-person, and parents are also able to change from in-person to fully remote,” she said.

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