JAY — The number of COVID-19 cases in Regional School Unit 73, Spruce Mountain schools, has been decreasing recently.

Since Sunday night, there have only been seven cases and 63 since the Nov. 18 board meeting, Superintendent Scott Albert said Thursday. At the Nov. 18 meeting, he reported there had been 182 positive cases since Oct. 21.

Spruce Mountain includes the primary school in Livermore and the elementary, middle and high schools in Jay. The district consists of students from those towns and Livermore Falls.

Albert said he is waiting to hear from the commissioner of education about some possible rule changes regarding close contacts and quarantining. The changes would limit those considered close contacts and those needing to quarantine, he noted.

“The goal is to keep students in school,” Albert said. The hoped for changes would keep kids in school and safe too, he noted.

Albert said he was initially concerned about this week, as it was 10 days out from the Thanksgiving break.


In other business, School Resource Officer Darin Gilbert provided an update on what he has been involved with since the start of school. There were 166 items noted in all not counting security checks and other routine procedures.

Ten threat assessments were conducted.

The district’s former social worker Dr. Karen Barnes was able to enroll Gilbert, Albert and social worker Kristy Labonte in a comprehensive school threat assessment class at no cost to the district. The program was developed based on the 2007 shootings at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

“It’s the top threat assessment (class) in the country right now,” Gilbert said. “We are all certified, have threat assessment teams at every school. That gives us the ability to look at every threat individually to try to prevent things from happening, get what they need before we or they have problems. Try to fix it before it’s an issue. It’s a great program.”

Other noted instances included 43 staff assists (helping with interviews, investigations or offering guidance), 38 home checks (locating students) and 15 student guidance (answering questions, helping students with home issues, homework or projects).

Last year, 135 home checks were made and Gilbert projected close to 100 by the end of this school year.

Gilbert assisted with eight criminal events resulting in no charges, four fights or assaults, two drug possessions in schools and three weapons found in schools. He was also called for six “out of control” or walk-away students.

“Thank you for all you do,” Elaine Fitzgerald, a member of the board of directors, said. “You make a difference for a lot of kids beyond what staff can do. We are so fortunate to have you.”

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