A dozen Bangor elementary school students are quarantining for 14 days after they came into contact with a Bangor Region YMCA employee who tested positive for the coronavirus.
Nineteen students from four other Bangor-area school districts were also exposed to the employee last week. The 19 students were in contact with the employee as they attended Y Academy, a new YMCA offering this year that students can attend on days when they’re learning remotely. The 12 students from Bangor were attending the Y’s after-school program.
All students who are quarantining are young, ranging from kindergarten to second grade, said Diane Dickerson, CEO of the Bangor Region YMCA.
The YMCA employee who tested positive works there part-time as an assistant to teachers at the Y. Last week, she was at the Y Academy on Wednesday and the after-school program on Thursday. All students and employees wear masks at all times, Dickerson said.
The Bangor School Department has advised all students who might have had limited contact with the person who tested positive to stay at home for two weeks, said Assistant Superintendent Kathy Harris-Smedberg.
“These students that are quarantined, we would ask them or would encourage them to get tested,” Harris-Smedberg said. “That would give us just more information about contact tracing.”
Other Bangor students who have not been exposed can continue to attend school.
The YMCA contacted parents of approximately 100 students who attend either the after-school program or go to the Y on remote learning days on Monday night to inform them of the employee’s positive test, Dickerson said.
The school department and the Bangor Region YMCA have been in contact with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The YMCA has shut down its programs as of Tuesday and is waiting for CDC guidance on reopening. Dickerson also said 10 employees who might have been exposed to the person who tested positive will be tested.
Harris-Smedberg said Bangor schools followed CDC guidelines to determine which students should quarantine.
The Bangor School Department is one of few in Maine that has allowed most students to return to school in person full time, but there have been no positive COVID-19 cases in Bangor schools so far.
A group of middle school-age girls who attend the William S. Cohen School quarantined briefly earlier this month after potential exposure to the virus through a soccer team. The 19 girls on the team and their family members later tested negative, said Melissa Biehn, president of the Bangor Soccer Club.
The team members quarantined as precaution because six of them also play on an Old Town-based travel basketball team whose members were potentially exposed to the virus while playing a scrimmage against a team from the Skowhegan area, which has recently seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases. State guidelines for community sports recommend that teams limit their play to competition within the same team to reduce travel and exposure to different groups of people.
Harris-Smedberg reminded parents to keep following safety protocols such as social distancing, mask-wearing and completing the daily health evaluation questions.
“Those things are really important so we can be proactive at catching things,” she said.