January 12, 2021
Dear Students, Families, and Staff,
I am writing in order to provide additional information to the MSAD #1 community regarding the positive coronavirus case at Presque Isle High School. Members of the MSAD #1 Health Services department and school representatives from Presque Isle High School notified the students and staff considered to be close contacts to the person who tested positive for the coronavirus. If you have not been contacted, your son or daughter is not considered a close contact and will not be required to quarantine.
The decision to dismiss Presque Isle High School today at 11:30 was because we had an individual who had tested positive for the coronavirus as well as a significant number of close contacts. We wanted our students and staff members who needed to quarantine to begin doing so right away. The individual who tested positive has not been in school since Wednesday, January 6. We have approximately 32 students and 3 PIHS staff members who are considered close contacts.
Since we have substitute staff members to cover for the three staff members who are considered close contacts, Presque Isle High School will reopen for in-person instruction on Wednesday, January 13. All MSAD #1 schools will be open for in-person instruction and will resume their regular schedules.
The decision to continue to provide in-person instruction for our students continues to be based on the availability of substitute staff members in each building in order to safely and effectively provide in-person instruction. The other major factor affecting our decision to remain open for in-person instruction is the school instructional designation determined by the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) and the Maine CDC. Aroostook County is currently labeled as “Green” for full, in-person instruction. The MDOE updates these designations every two weeks. The next update will be released at 12:00pm on Friday, January 15th.
If Aroostook County is classified as Yellow on January 15 due to an increase in positive case counts, we will be shifting to our Yellow, or hybrid, plan beginning next week. The most important aspect of a Yellow designation is that schools will need to ensure that all students are spaced 6 feet apart during instruction. This would require us to split our classroom rosters into two groups and to use a combination of remote and in-person instruction. Students would be attending school in-person two days a week and be remote learning the other three days. If the MDOE and Maine CDC classifies Aroostook County as Yellow on January 15, I will be sending out a notification to the MSAD #1 community regarding next steps.
MSAD #1 officials have been in contact with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are following the protocols and procedures outlined for schools to follow when a case of the coronavirus occurs in a school. The CDC recommends that close contacts of a person who tests positive for the coronavirus should quarantine for 10 days. The CDC also recommends that the members of Presque Isle High School who are not considered close contacts should monitor for symptoms but may resume normal daily activities.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that ranges from mild to severe. The virus mainly spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and an uninfected person breathes in the virus. Signs and symptoms include:
• fever or chills • cough • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• fatigue • muscle or body aches • headache
• sore throat • new loss of taste or smell • congestion or runny nose
• nausea or vomiting • diarrhea
For general COVID-19 questions, dial 211 (or 1-866-811-5695). You can also text your ZIP code to 898-211 or email email@example.com. Call a health care provider for questions about your symptoms. More information can be found at www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
Please continue to take the necessary precautions against the coronavirus in order to reduce the spread of the disease. Feel free to reach out to MSAD #1 Health Services Director, Lisa McKenna at firstname.lastname@example.org, your child’s principal, or myself at email@example.com if you have any questions.