An outbreak of COVID-19 at the Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta has been identified. The school will continue to offer full-time, in-person instruction with no changes.
According to a Tuesday, March 30 letter to parents and guardians signed by Principal Kim Schaff and school nurse Linda Cosgrove, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention informed the school that it is considered in “outbreak status for COVID-19.”
“An outbreak means that there are three or more cases of COVID-19 within a 14-day period that are epidemiologically linked, whether transmission occurred in or out of school,” the letter said.
“Please note, the Maine CDC has indicated that no additional changes to our operating status are necessary. Being notified of outbreak status does not require school closure or changes to in-person instruction for those classrooms not affected,” the letter said.
According to the letter, the school is following the recommendations of the Maine CDC’s standard operating procedures for investigating COVID-19 in schools.
As part of these procedures, GSB is notifying everyone associated with the school of the outbreak, working closely with a Maine CDC outbreak investigator, ensuring that those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and close contacts only return to school after they have completed isolation or quarantine, and following cleaning guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Robert Long, spokesperson for the Maine CDC, said by email on Tuesday that no other outbreaks have been identified in Lincoln County in the past week.
Lincoln Academy in Newcastle identified a case of COVID-19 associated with the school.
According to a letter sent to the LA school community on Thursday, March 25, all parents of any students involved and all close contacts have been notified. As defined by the Maine CDC, a close contact is someone who has been within 6 feet of a positive case, with or without a face mask, for at least 15 minutes during the infectious period, or someone who is in a cohort of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.
The letter also reminded parents and students that COVID-19 cases are “on the rise” in Lincoln County and of the need to remain vigilant.
“We all hope for continued hybrid learning, an uninterrupted spring sports season, and in-person graduation events for the Class of 2021. To accomplish these things we must all work together and remain vigilant: wear your masks, wash your hands, keep your distance,” the letter said.
According to an online dashboard maintained by the Maine CDC, Department of Education, and Department of Health and Human Services that is current as of Thursday, March 25, there have been less than five COVID-19 cases identified in the past 30 days at each one of seven different schools in Lincoln County.
The schools listed as having less than five cases in the past 30 days are GSB, Jefferson Village School, Boothbay Region Elementary School, Boothbay Region High School, the Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, Miller School and Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro, and Wiscasset Middle High School.
None of the schools are listed as having an open outbreak since the data is only updated weekly at 4 p.m. on Thursdays.