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St. George School closes for COVID-19 cleaning

Nov 17, 2020
Photo by: St. George School

St. George — The St. George School closed Nov. 17 out of abundance of caution for cleaning and to provide the school administration time to contact staff and families of students who may have had sustained contact with a person who was in the building early last week and later was confirmed to have COVID-19.

This was the message posted Nov. 16 on the school website by St. George Municipal School Unit Superintendent Mike Felton.

"I learned today that a person who was in the building early last week began exhibiting symptoms later in the week and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. I called the Maine Department of Education and Maine CDC and I was informed that because the person began showing symptoms more than 48 hours after being in the building, no one at St. George School would qualify as a close contact.

"According to the Maine CDC, a close contact is a person who was (within six feet for 15 total minutes or more in a 24-hour period) with a COVID-19 case while they were symptomatic or within 48 hours before their symptoms started (or if asymptomatic the starting 48 hours prior to specimen collection)," Felton said Nov. 16.

"However, our protocols in the Return to School Handbook state that if there is a confirmed case in the school, we will 'close for 2-5 days to allow for cleaning, disinfecting, and contact tracing.' Even though the Maine DOE and CDC do not require our school to close, in an abundance of caution, we will close the building tomorrow (Tuesday, 11/17) only for cleaning and to provide us time to contact staff and families of students who may have had sustained contact with the confirmed case.

"Again, we are doing this out of an abundance of caution and, according to the Maine CDC, no one at St. George School qualifies as a close contact."

"Teachers will be sending work home with students this afternoon. Some students may have written work to complete and others may be sent home with devices to access Seesaw or Google Classroom.

"We will deliver meals to students who signed up for school lunch Nov. 17.

"This is a unique situation and doesn't neatly fit with the protocol. We consulted our protocols as well as the Maine CDC and DOE and decided to err on the side of caution and transparency."

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