JAY —  The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported an outbreak of COVID-19 at Spruce Mountain Elementary School.

“When someone hears the word outbreak, it is very easy to panic, please try not to,” Superintendent Scott Albert wrote to staff, students and families Friday. “The definition of an outbreak in this case is three or more positive COVID-19 cases in a 14-day period.”

There have been three cases at the school, with two students already back to school after following CDC protocols, he wrote.

“These cases are not linked,” Albert continued. “These cases are not school-based transmissions. All of them came from the individuals’ homes.”

A Maine CDC outbreak coordinator is working with the district.

“At this time the only recommendation we have been given is that we notify our RSU 73 family,” Albert wrote. “We wanted you to be aware of the situation before it is possibly, publicly broadcasted, because that makes people panic. As the cases rise in our community, they may also rise in our schools. Our nurses and the rest of our staff are working diligently to make sure that transmission is little to none, while at school. We will continue to keep you updated. Please know we will not hesitate to go fully remote at any individual school or districtwide, if need be.”

Albert shared the following ways individuals could help: Monitor yourself/your student for signs and symptoms; call a health care provider if symptoms start; call a health care facility before going there; and stay home if sick.

COVID-19 is a virus that attacks the respiratory system and can be more severe in adults 60 years and older and those with underlying conditions. The virus mainly spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and droplets are inhaled by others.

“Please keep in mind that many things can cause respiratory illness, so students and staff should be up-to-date on influenza and routine vaccinations,” Albert wrote. “Maine CDC or a school representative will contact you directly if you are identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive. Close contacts will be asked to quarantine for 14 days from last exposure to the positive individual. A negative test result does not get an individual out of quarantine.”

In an email later Friday morning, Albert wrote one case was a staff member, one was a remote student and the other a full-time student. The cases were reported Nov. 19, 20 and 30.

“Custodial staff went into the affected area and made sure things were wiped down. This happens daily as well,” he wrote.

A student at the primary school was reported with COVID-19 on Nov. 4,  a staff person at the high school on Nov. 20 and a middle school student on Nov. 30.

All were announced via telephone.

Questions can be directed to Albert by calling 207-897-6722. For general COVID-19 questions, dial 211 (or 1-866-811-5695). You can also text your ZIP code to 898-211 or email [email protected] More information can be found at www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.


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