Lewiston High School nurse Melissa Gendron, middle right, checks the license plate of a vehicle as St. Mary's Health System nurse practitioner, Carolyn McNamara, takes a swab from a staff member at a coronavirus testing site, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 at Lewiston Middle School in Lewiston, Maine. Credit: Russ Dillingham / Sun Journal via AP

The state is recommending as it did two weeks ago that schools in four Maine counties not offer full-time, in-person instruction as they experience higher rates of new virus cases than the rest of the state.

Androscoggin, Cumberland, Oxford and York counties retained their “yellow” designations in school safety ratings the Maine Department of Education released Friday. The state recommends that schools in yellow counties not open for full-time, in-person instruction and instead offer a combination of in-person and remote learning.

Those four counties will remain in the yellow category at least until Jan. 29, when the state issues new safety ratings.

This is the first time the state has not made any changes to its school safety ratings over a two-week period since it began issuing its color-coded safety ratings over the summer.

York County currently has the highest 14-day rate of COVID-19 cases, with 93.67 new cases for every 10,000 residents over the past two weeks. The state as a whole has seen 57.78 new cases for every 10,000 residents in that period.

The state two weeks ago was monitoring Penobscot and Aroostook counties for a potential downgrade from green to yellow, with a “green” rating signaling that it’s safe for schools to open for full-time, in-person instruction and for some extracurricular activities such as sports to take place. But the state on Friday kept those two counties in green territory.

New case rates have risen in those two counties over the past two weeks, as they have in the rest of the state, but other counties have seen steeper increases in that time.