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As of 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14, test results show that three Maine residents have tested presumptive positive for the coronavirus. Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which the BDN has made free for the public. You can support this mission by purchasing a digital subscription.
The Bangor School Department will close for two weeks beginning Monday to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
The Saturday announcement of the closure of 10 Bangor schools followed the news that John Bapst Memorial High School would suspend all on-campus classes and close the building until April 27 and comes after officials this week announced the first presumptive positive cases of COVID-19.
“This decision was made in consultation with many and out of an abundance of caution to follow the rapidly changing guidance regarding enhancing social distancing efforts to flatten the curve,” Bangor Superintendent Betsy Webb said in a Saturday afternoon email to parents. “This decision has not been made lightly and we certainly empathize and understand the significant burden this will cause families in the coming days.”
Shortly after, the school district in Dedham and Orrington announced it would close for the same duration as Bangor schools.
Instruction will not be online but teachers will stay in touch with students and families through daily email or phone calls, she said.
Parents can pick up two week’s worth of learning material on Tuesday based on a schedule Webb shared in an email.
There will be school sites where families can pick up meals starting Tuesday, she said. The school department’s food director, Noelle Scott, is working to put in place a meal program that will follow Bangor’s summer feeding protocols and provide meals to students, Webb said.
Schools from Mount Desert Island and Indian Township to Scarborough have announced closures in response to the outbreak.
Students across the country have been sent home, including all of Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon and Washington. Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. have also announced closures.
Watch: What you need to know about handwashing during coronavirus