RUMFORD — The Regional School Unit 10 board of directors voted unanimously Thursday to reopen schools in Rumford and Mexico on Tuesday.

Students at Mountain Valley High School and Rumford Elementary School, both in Rumford, and Mountain Valley Middle School and Meroby Elementary School, both in Mexico, have been learning remotely since Sept. 28 after a coronavirus outbreak at ND Paper mill in Rumford.

Superintendent Deb Alden told directors Thursday that Hartford-Sumner Elementary School in Sumner has one person with a positive COVID-19 test. That person stayed out of school when they first were exposed and have remained out of the building since, so there was no virus exposure at the school, she said.

The school and Buckfield Junior-Senior High School were not included in the district’s closings the past two weeks because that area had no positive COVID-19 tests.

Alden also said Rumford Hospital representatives recently met with her and board Chairman Greg Buccina of Rumford to provide guidance on plans to returning to in-person classes.

“They feel really good about how the mill has handled this,” she said. “They feel they got right on it; they did the stuff they were supposed to do.”

She also provided hospital administrators with the district’s COVID-19 Return to School Guidelines, which administrators termed “excellent,” Alden said.

“We have the processes in place, as we should, and (the hospital administrators) just keep saying, ‘it’s the hand washing, the social distancing, and wearing a mask,’” she said.

According to Dr. Nirav Shah of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the paper mill had 24 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday and another round of testing at the mill was taking place later Thursday and on Friday, Shah said.

As of Sept. 25, Oxford County’s coronavirus risk designation was changed from low, or green, to medium, or yellow, under the state’s color-coded system. The weekly designation will be updated on the CDC website by noon Friday, Alden said.

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