December 10, 2020
Dear Students, Families, and Staff,
I am writing to provide an update to the MSAD #1 school community regarding the number of positive coronavirus cases in the district and a timeline for a return to in-person instruction in our schools. Members of the MSAD #1 Health Services department are in contact with the Maine CDC regarding the positive cases in the district, and contacted the individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus, as well as individuals who are close contacts.
We currently have 5 individuals who have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) at Zippel Elementary School, 4 individuals who have tested positive for the coronavirus at Presque Isle High School, and 1 individual who has tested positive for the coronavirus at Presque Isle Middle School. We also have a large number of students and staff who are considered close contacts. Since there are 3 or more cases of COVID-19 within a 14-day period that are epidemiologically linked, Presque Isle High School and Zippel Elementary School are now considered coronavirus outbreaks by the Maine CDC. Please monitor yourself or your student for signs and symptoms and call a health care provider if symptoms start.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that ranges from mild to severe. It can be more severe in adults 60 years and older and in those with underlying conditions. 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
As I mentioned in my letter last Friday, the decision to return to in-person instruction will be based on the fact that there are no active coronavirus cases in our schools and that we have an appropriate number of staff members to safely and effectively provide in-person instruction. The decision to return to in-person instruction will also be influenced by the spread of the virus in our community. Considering the number of active coronavirus cases within the district, the number of staff members who need to quarantine as close contacts, and the increased spread of the coronavirus in the MSAD #1 community, all MSAD #1 schools will remain in remote learning, through Tuesday, December 22. All MSAD #1 schools will reopen to in-person instruction after vacation on Monday, January 4.
I am hopeful that our community will follow the recommendations of local, state, and federal health officials to wear a mask or face covering when out in public, wash hands regularly, and maintain social distancing. This can be especially difficult over the holidays as traditional events typically involve gathering with friends and family. I believe that in-person instruction is the most effective method of instruction and best meets the academic, social, and emotional needs of the students we serve. Please take the necessary precautions so that we can safely return to in-person instruction on Monday, January 4.