WALES — A Regional School Unit 4 administrator expressed concern for school operations at the Board of Directors meeting Wednesday night at Oak Hill High School after 25 members of the school community tested positive for COVID-19 from Monday to Wednesday this week.

“If we continue to have 25 cases at this rate, I’m not sure how we’re going to get through the next nine days,” said Director of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction Kathy Martin.

In this week alone, school staff have made 234 phone calls related to positive cases and close contacts and have received an additional 150 calls from families notifying the school that either the parents or other members of the families are positive with COVID-19.

“We are all doing other jobs that we normally are doing,” Martin said. “Today I was an administrator, a nurse, I did teaching and I also did pooled testing. We’re all swiss army knives trying . . . (to) do the best we can.”

Superintendent Andrew Carlton also address school staff burnout during his report.

“I want to make you all aware, people are tired, really tired. Our staff is really tired, and we are incredibly short-staffed on a daily basis between sickness, COVID, and people’s (family obligations),” he said. “Consequently, it’s having a huge impact on people. We have teachers who are losing their prep periods daily to cover classes. We have had to move food service staff around to cover just to put minimal meals out in buildings and our custodial staff is thin. Our administrators are working a ton of hours, and our nurses are stretched incredibly thin.”

“I’m worried about all of them,” he added. “I just would ask that people be gentle with them, with all of them.”

Carlton also recognized the district’s four nurses — Lisa Mooney, Jody Gray, Allyson Robitaille, and Melanie Lessard — who were each awarded a Maine School Board Association Distinguished Service Award.

“Our nurses, not only are they dealing with their regular things, but they’re also having to deal with the things related to COVID-19.” he said. “They take some pretty heavy punishment on a daily basis.”

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