SACO — Thornton Academy upper school and middle school in Saco have moved to all remote learning as of Tuesday, after the administration learned on Monday that three people associated with the school tested positive for COVID-19. This is the second school to close in the community in recent weeks due to the virus.

In-person learning at TA and TAMS will return after the Thanksgiving break.

In a communication to Thornton Academy families on Monday, Nov. 9, Headmaster Rene Menard wrote, “This letter is to inform you that we learned this morning of three separate cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) within the Thornton Academy community. According to Maine’s COVID Standard Operating Procedure, three or more cases of COVID-19 within a 14-day period that are epidemiologically linked are considered an outbreak. Out of an abundance of caution, starting tomorrow (Tuesday, November 10th) Thornton Academy will effectively move to a fully remote learning model until Monday, November 30th. This designation will also prohibit all athletics and inperson after school activities for the duration of the closure.”

The school’s nursing staff is working with the CDC and “have begun a preliminary investigation,” Menard said. “Safety protocols have been initiated and all known individuals identified as close contacts have been notified. Should additional positive cases emerge, the Maine CDC or a school representative will contact you directly to notify you that your student has been identified as a close contact.”

Despite the school’s closure, student instruction will continue. Menard said that the return to school plan was created to be flexible to allow changing to fully remote instruction in case of a COVID-19 outbreak.

“All instruction will remain on Google Classroom and Zoom,” Menard said. “It is important to note that students are expected to be present remotely for each scheduled class meeting, and all current attendance and grading policies remain in place.”

Thornton Academy is the second school to close in recent weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Young School also experienced an outbreak and the school is closed until Monday, Nov. 16.

Initially, one person at Young tested positive for the virus and on Oct. 25, the Saco School Department told the community that the kindergarten wing of Young School would be closed through Oct. 30. Then on Oct. 27, Superintendent of Schools Dominic DePatsy wrote in a letter to families, staff and the community, that the wing was closed through Nov. 6 “due to substitute coverage issues” after another individual tested positive. When a third case was found and the outbreak was declared Oct. 29, the announcement was made that the entire school would be shut down through Nov. 16.

“Based on recommendations from the Maine CDC, we are closing Young School for cleaning to help prevent further spread of COVID-19,” DePatsy said at the time.

Young School students are receiving remote instruction.

At Saco Middle School, several classrooms were closed after an individual associated with those rooms tested postivie for COVID-19, and the students and staff on the team and bus connected to those rooms were to remain home through Nov. 10, DePatsy said, although the rest of the student body was to continue in-person schooling and follow the hybrid blended learning schedule.

Staff Writer Tammy Wells contributed to this report.

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