OXFORD HILLS — With two schools closing earlier this month due to virus outbreaks, Paris Elementary School and Oxford Elementary have also been shuttered to in-person education until after the Thanksgiving holiday break.

Guy E. Rowe School in Norway had to close after Nov. 6 due to multiple outbreaks. As of Monday morning there were 11 confirmed and probable positive cases. Close to 60 others remained in quarantine.

The OHCHS Library. The high school has closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, which dodged an outbreak last month after varsity field hockey players were exposed to an infected player on an opposing team, closed Nov. 9 after an outbreak was detected in the school. By Monday there were 37 in quarantine and four confirmed cases of the virus. The 10 players on the field hockey team who were exposed were cleared from quarantine last week.

SAD 17 Superintendent Rick Colpitts told the School Board that Monday marked the last day school was in session for both Oxford Elementary and Paris Elementary Schools. Those schools will be in remote learning for the next two weeks.

PES reached the CDC-determined outbreak number of three cases Monday. OES has reported two positive cases since Friday, but with at least nine educators in quarantine due to exposure with one staff who later tested positive, the school does not have enough teachers to hold in-person classes.

Otisfield Elementary School recently recorded two positive cases of the virus, requiring that more than a dozen students and staff quarantine for two weeks. By Nov. 16 only one student has not been able to return to school and there is one active case associated with the school.


According to Colpitts, Rowe is the only facility where transmission could be traced to within the school.

“Oxford County continues its green designation,” he told directors. “Which is perplexing, looking at our district’s local quarantine statistics. But we have done a good job keeping the virus from spreading in schools, beyond Rowe. The Maine Center for Disease Control has recognized our success in keeping kids safe.”

Colpitts said contact tracing on outbreaks indicates that they occur through social events and sporting events.

“We urge that families use caution in their interactions with others,” Colpitts told the Board.

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