Angela Delorme, president of the Auburn Education Association and an educational technician III at Washburn Elementary School, speaks Wednesday to the School Committee. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

AUBURN — The Auburn Education Association is urging the Auburn School District to require all unvaccinated students and staff to be tested weekly for COVID-19.

“The Auburn Education Association supports that all who work and learn in education be vaccinated or tested weekly, use masking, and observe social distancing,” association President Angela Delorme told the School Committee on Wednesday. “We believe only these practices will keep our schools open for learning.”

She emphasized the request was made with safety in mind, aiming to keep students and staff in classrooms and minimize COVID-related disruptions.

“The leadership of the Auburn Education Association is eager to discuss with Superintendent (Cornelia) Brown how we can work together and is requesting to sit down soon to come up with solutions that will support our school staff and keep our children safe and able to learn,” she said.

Delorme, who is an educational technician III at Washburn Elementary, said the Maine Education Association also supports a weekly testing requirement for unvaccinated students and staff.

In an interview after her speech, Delorme said she did not know of a school district with a similar requirement. However, she pointed to the steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the Auburn School District recently as evidence that further protective measures are needed.

In the past seven days, 19 students have tested positive for COVID-19, including six from Fairview Elementary School, five from Washburn Elementary School, three from Auburn Middle School, three from Edward Little High School, one from Park Avenue Elementary School, and one from Walton Elementary School.

As of Wednesday, 60 students and seven staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since the school year began, resulting in 523 close contacts and 310 school-directed quarantines.

According to Assistant Superintendent Sue Dorris, just 100 students have submitted consent forms for the school’s pooled testing program, which administrators hope will begin in November. There are more than 3,000 students in the school district.

“My message was not just to the Auburn school community, it’s to everyone. We all need to take a step back and decide what is the most important thing,” Delorme said. “We are concerned for the safety of everyone in our schools.”

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