A COVID-19 outbreak – which means three or more people have tested positive for the disease – has occurred at Young School in Saco, prompting closure of the school by the Saco School Department. As well, some classrooms at Saco Middle School have been closed after someone connected to the school tested positive. Courtesy Photo

SACO — Young School in Saco is closed through mid-November and three to four classrooms at Saco Middle School are also temporarily closed due to coronavirus.

Saco Superintendent of Schools Dominic DePatsy informed Young School families and staff on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 29 that there is an outbreak of COVID-19 at the kindergarten- Grade 2 school as defined by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. He said an outbreak means that there are three or more cases of COVID-19 within a 14-day period that are epidemiologically linked.

“Based on recommendations from the Maine CDC, we are closing Young School for cleaning to help prevent further spread of COVID-19,” said DePatsy. Distance Learning began for Young School students on Friday, Oct. 30. The school is scheduled to resume the hybrid in-person and distance learning schedule on Monday, Nov. 16.

DePatsy emphasized that the Maine CDC or a school representative had already contacted those identified as being a close contact of those with COVID-19.

“Per the CDC, we are asking all staff and students to monitor for symptoms for 14 days starting on Friday, Oct. 30, and be tested if symptoms develop,” DePatsy said. “Call a health care provider if symptoms start. It is important that you call a health care facility before you show up in person.”

On Oct. 25, the School Department told the community that the kindergarten wing of Young School would be closed through Oct. 30 after one person tested positive, and on Oct. 27 DePatsy wrote in a letter to familes, staff and the community, the the wing was closed through Nov. 6 after another individual tested positive “due to substitute coverage issues.” After the outbreak was declared Thursday afternoon, Oct. 29, the announcement was made that the entire school would be shut down through Nov. 16.

As well, in a letter to Saco Middle School families on Thursday, the superintendent said a person from the school tested positive for COVID-19. Again, those identified as close contacts were asked to quarantine at home for 14 days from exposure.

“Students and staff on the impacted team and bus will remain home through Nov. 10,” DePatsy wrote. “The rest of the school will continue in-person schooling and continue to follow the hybrid blended learning schedule.”

At SMS, several teachers and students form a team, he said Friday, and the school has several. The individual who tested positive was connected to a team, and so the school has closed the three or four classrooms it used.

Statewide, another 103 cases of COVID-19 were reported on Friday, Oct. 30, according to a Portland Press Herald story by Joe Lawlor. This is the highest number of new cases in one day in the state since the pandemic began. Of the new cases across Maine that day, nine were in York County.

Maine CDC says COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle, body or headache, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

The CDC recommends prevention measures including handwashing with soap and warm water — especially important after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. When soap and water are not available, people are asked to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. People are asked to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands and to avoid close contact with people who are sick. People should cover their cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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