Wiscasset school switches to distance learning after COVID-19 cases confirmed

Wiscasset Middle High School switched to full distance learning on Monday after two students and a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, according to a letter Superintendent Terry Wood sent to families on Monday.

A third student tested positive the next day, according to a letter published Tuesday by Wood. Contact tracing is underway and close contacts will be notified, Wood wrote.

The school, which serves students in Grades 7 to 12, will return to in-person learning on Tuesday, October 12.

Additionally, all games, practices and extracurricular activities have been canceled at Wiscasset Middle High School until further notice.

The closure has no impact on students attending Bath Tech Elementary School or Wiscasset, which has not identified any cases of COVID-19, according to Wood.

Wood said the district decided to move to full distance learning after “several students” were identified as close contacts of those who tested positive for COVID-19. Those close contacts have been informed, Wood said, and asked to “follow quarantine guidelines if asked to do so.”

Wood said the school was disinfected during the closure and urged students and families to protect themselves to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the community in the meantime.

“We have followed the guidelines (from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention) very carefully and we want to be able to keep all of our students in school and we need your help,” Wood wrote on Monday. “Please limit the amount of interaction with others when your child is not feeling well. “

These three cases are the first the school district has reported so far this school year, according to the district’s website. On Saturday, however, Wood sent a letter to families informing them that a student from another district who shares transportation with some students in Wiscasset tested positive for COVID-19. Wood did not specify which Wiscasset students the sick student might have interacted with, but said anyone considered close contact would be notified.

According to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education, about 80% of staff at Wiscasset High School were vaccinated as of August 31. The departments also report that more than 95% of eligible students in the Wiscasset School Department have vaccinated.

In Lincoln County, about 67% of children aged 12 to 19 and just under 71% of Lincoln County residents were fully immunized as of Monday, state data showed.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 1,631 people in Lincoln County have tested positive for COVID-19 and four have died. Lincoln County also has the third lowest COVID-19 count, just above Washington and Piscataquis counties.

Statewide, 92,365 Mainers have tested positive for COVID-19 since March 2020, of which 1,036 have died of complications from the virus.

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