REGION — After a full week of district-wide school closures, the Regional School Unit 9 returned to in-person classes through its hybrid schedule on Monday, Jan. 25. Closures were announced on Saturday, Jan. 16, after it was determined that there was an insufficient number of substitute teachers to cover for staff members identified as close contacts to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.

“As far as the substitute situation, per the posting on Facebook on Saturday evening, 34 staff members were identified as close contacts, and we were unable to fill all positions with qualified substitutes,” Interim Superintendent Monique Poulin wrote in an email.

The district announced five additional positive cases on Jan. 22, but no schools were closed as a result of  no close contacts identified. In a statement issued by RSU 9 posted to its Facebook page and website on Jan. 22, the district outlined specific schools associated with positive cases:

“We wanted to make you aware that, as of today, one additional person associated with Mt. Blue High School, one person associated with Mt. Blue Middle School, one person associated with Cascade Brook School, and two people associated with W.G. Mallett School have tested positive for COVID-19. No close contacts were identified.”

The statement also announced that the district will be updating a COVID-19 case count on a weekly basis to its health notices tab on the Mt. Blue district website at https://www.mtbluersd.org/quick-links/health-notices.

“A table has been created to illustrate the positive cases of COVID-19 in RSU 9. The table will include the weekly case counts, by school/location, as well as the cumulative total for the 20/21 school year. The table will be updated Friday afternoons and does not differentiate between staff and students,” the Jan. 22 statement read.

According to the table, a total of 30 people associated with RSU 9 have tested positive for COVID-19 so far for the 2020-21 school year with the first district case reported on Oct. 9.

As RSU 9 enters its third quarter and Maine’s coronavirus case count is dropping from its Jan. 15 high of 800, few are opting to switch to fully remote learning with more returning to the hybrid model.

“We have 27 students requesting our Full Remote Learning for Quarter 3, and 45 students requesting a change to our Hybrid Learning Model,” Laura Columbia, Director of Curriculum, wrote in an email on Jan. 20.

These 72 students requesting a change to their learning model represent 3% of the RSU 9 student population. Last quarter, the trend was similar with more students switching back to a hybrid model.

“Last quarter, our numbers were 21 students to our Full Remote Learning Model, and 50 students to our Hybrid Learning Model,” Columbia wrote.

 

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