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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Maine school districts manage omicron surge, relaxed contact tracing guidance

There has been a 30% increase in the past week in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Maine schools.At least eight schools are in outbreak status, according to the state.The recent surge fueled by the omicron variant is forcing more schools to close and go remote again.Brunswick High School switched to remote learning this week due to spiking cases.Brunswick school nurse and Maine School Nurses Association President Melinda Nadeau said new state guidelines announced this week eliminate the burden of contact tracing for districts with masking mandates.”The kids who are positive are in isolation, so we no longer have to contact families, because at this point, we consider everybody a close contact,” Nadeau said.Nadeau said there have been 39 positive cases this week at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School where she works.”I take one day at a time,” Nadeau said. “It’s the worst we’ve seen since the start of it.” All schools in York also switched to remote learning this week because too many teachers and students were sick.”We couldn’t keep up with the pace of omicron variant,” York Public School Superintendent Lou Goscinski said.Goscinski said morale in his district is low. About 80% of students in the district are enrolled in pooled testing.”The most important thing we can do right now is mask. I know that’s been somewhat controversial in our society, but we feel that it’s highly effective,” Goscinski said. “So, masking and pool testing seems to be what works best for us.”Brunswick High School will reopen on Tuesday, as will all schools in York.The superintendents for both districts said they expect to have the staff in place to operate safely in person.

There has been a 30% increase in the past week in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Maine schools.

At least eight schools are in outbreak status, according to the state.

The recent surge fueled by the omicron variant is forcing more schools to close and go remote again.

Brunswick High School switched to remote learning this week due to spiking cases.

Brunswick school nurse and Maine School Nurses Association President Melinda Nadeau said new state guidelines announced this week eliminate the burden of contact tracing for districts with masking mandates.

“The kids who are positive are in isolation, so we no longer have to contact families, because at this point, we consider everybody a close contact,” Nadeau said.

Nadeau said there have been 39 positive cases this week at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School where she works.

“I take one day at a time,” Nadeau said. “It’s the worst we’ve seen since the start of it.”

All schools in York also switched to remote learning this week because too many teachers and students were sick.

“We couldn’t keep up with the pace of omicron variant,” York Public School Superintendent Lou Goscinski said.

Goscinski said morale in his district is low. About 80% of students in the district are enrolled in pooled testing.

“The most important thing we can do right now is mask. I know that’s been somewhat controversial in our society, but we feel that it’s highly effective,” Goscinski said. “So, masking and pool testing seems to be what works best for us.”

Brunswick High School will reopen on Tuesday, as will all schools in York.

The superintendents for both districts said they expect to have the staff in place to operate safely in person.

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