REGION — The numbers of students required to quarantine and the number of positive cases of COVID continue to steadily rise in Oxford Hills schools.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 190 students were reported to be in quarantine due to exposure to the virus. Three of the largest schools in the district, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School and Oxford Hills Middle School in Paris and Guy E Rowe Elementary School in Norway account for 119 of those moved to remote learning. Paris Elementary and Oxford Elementary schools reported 22 and 15 quarantines. West Paris had 19 and Otisfield had 15. The remaining elementary schools, Waterford, Harrison and Hebron currently have no one quarantining.

School staff staying out of quarantine is the silver lining of note in the current environment: only two people who work at PES have been held out. Schools can only stay open when there is enough staff to report to work. Since the beginning of the school year, SAD 17 has been seen few educators quarantining from week to week, although according to district Superintendent Dr. Monica Henson, overall staff absences have been up this year, for various reasons.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Oxford County has reported 5,870 confirmed and probably cases of the virus, with 87 dying with the disease. Statewide the positivity rate stands at 7.6%, which includes areas with much higher vaccination rates. But in Oxford County that number is 13.9%.

Oxford Hills communities’ vaccination rates have been inching up, with most towns ranging from 75% to 87% of eligible people vaccinated. Norway has reported that 99% of its eligible population has been vaccinated for several weeks already.

Just last week children between the ages of five and 11 were approved to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Stephens Memorial Hospital is running a vaccination clinic for children through this week. SAD 17 held a clinic on Nov. 13, where just 59 kids received their first shot. But more than 100 have already been signed up to receive their first or second shot at a clinic on Dec. 4.



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