Whitefield Elementary School has a COVID-19 outbreak, with five people testing positive, while two other Lincoln County schools are reporting individual cases.
Whitefield Elementary has switched from in-person to distance learning, which it will continue until Nov. 30. Principal Mark Deblois announced the change in a letter to parents Sunday, Nov. 15.
“This is an unhappy development for all of us but we will strive to carry out this period of time as well as we possibly can,” Deblois wrote.
The school plans to deliver free meals to families on Wednesday, Nov. 18 and Monday, Nov. 23. Any family who wants to receive these meals should email Meagan Soule at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whitefield Elementary previously switched to distance learning from Oct. 2-6 after one person at Windsor Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19 and a separate probable case was identified.
“Having multiple COVID-positive tests here at WHES indicates the severity and the seriousness of this pandemic,” Deblois wrote.
In his Monday, Nov. 16 briefing, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Nirav Shah said the CDC had opened an investigation into the outbreak at Whitefield Elementary, one of 14 new outbreaks in the state.
“These outbreaks are a direct outcropping of the increasing levels of community transmission that we have started to see in the past couple of weeks,” Shah said. “The ground has been seeded with ever-increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, and we’re now starting to see patches in the form of outbreaks emerge all across the state.”
In Newcastle, Lincoln Academy Head of School Jeffrey Burroughs reported one positive case in a community letter Wednesday, Nov. 11.
“Because of the amount of time that passed between the individual being on campus and testing positive, other staff and students are not considered close contacts, based on CDC standards, and there is no need for school closure,” Burroughs wrote.
He said the school’s Pandemic Response Team, in consultation with Dr. Andrew Russ at LincolnHealth, does not believe the case poses a risk to the community.
Jefferson Village School has one positive case as well, according to Principal Lauren Arnold. Close contacts of the person who tested positive have been asked to quarantine for 11 days.
The school moved to distance learning Thursday and Friday, Nov. 12 and 13.
According to Arnold, the Maine CDC and representatives of LincolnHealth and the Maine Department of Education gave JVS the go-ahead to continue in-person instruction.