More than 50 students and staff have to quarantine for two weeks after a junior at Hampden Academy student tested positive for COVID-19.
Hampden Academy will remain open for in-person instruction two days a week while 49 students and six staff members quarantine, according to Superintendent Regan Nickels.
“We feel comfortable that our safety protocols are working very well, and that we can carry on with school,” she said.
Substitute teachers will supervise classes that are taught by quarantined teachers, Nickels said in a Friday afternoon email to parents. The teachers will continue teaching remotely, or substitutes might be hired for in-person teaching.
While positive COVID-19 cases have forced temporary school closures across Maine, Bangor area schools have remained open since they brought students back for in-person instruction.
Friday’s news marks the second time a large group of Bangor-area students has had to quarantine due to a positive case. About 30 students from five school districts — including 15 from Hampden-area schools — had to quarantine when an employee at the Bangor Region YMCA tested positive on Oct. 20.
The Hampden Academy nurse is in contact with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In her email, Nickels asked all quarantined students and staff to get tested for COVID-19.
Friday is the third consecutive day of unprecedented surges in coronavirus cases across the state, most of which have not been linked to an outbreak. The Maine Department of Education downgraded two states’ safety rating to “yellow” on Friday afternoon, meaning they can only open for in-person instruction a few days a week.
While Penobscot County has had a safety rating of “green” which allows schools to be open full-time, Hampden and many area districts have only brought back students for in-person learning two days a week, which they can continue even if the safety rating is downgraded.
“There is a chance of additional cases [in schools],” Nickels said about the surge the state is experiencing.