WISCASSET — Wiscasset Elementary and Wiscasset Middle High schools switched to a remote-only learning this week after two parents of school children tested positive for COVID-19, according to school officials. 

Terry Wood, school superintendent, said Monday that two family members of the Wiscasset Middle High School student have tested positive, but the student has since tested negative twice. 

There have not been any positive cases identified in either students or staff as of Monday, but Wood said the district has started contact tracing as a precautionary measure and is working with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The two instances are the only cases of potential exposure reported in Wiscasset schools so far this year. There are 446 students in the school district. 

Wood notified families at the combined middle school and high school of the possible exposure Nov. 17, and announced the move to full remote instruction the following day. The school will return to hybrid learning Nov. 30. 

According to an announcement on Sunday, the elementary school will also return to school Nov. 30, following fully remote days Monday and Tuesday, and the Thanksgiving holiday on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. 

The district will be “conducting extensive, cleaning, and disinfecting to help prevent any spread of COVID-19” in both buildings during the break, according to the letters sent out to families. 

Elementary school students will follow their typical Thursday schedules online on Tuesday, Wood told parents. 

“I know this is so confusing,” she said, “but we are trying to make sure our students are receiving the education they deserve in these very difficult times.” 

Wood said Monday that the decision to move to the “red” or fully remote level despite only the possibility of exposure and no confirmed student or staff cases was made out of an abundance of caution. 

“We only have two days of school this week and we don’t know for sure, so just to be safe,” she said. “Why bring all the students back in if there’s only a day or two?” 

The move to remote comes amid a tide of new coronavirus cases and ahead of the Thanksgiving holidays, which CDC officials warn could become a super spreader event. 

On Monday, the Maine CDC reported 185 new cases of virus, bringing the statewide total up to 10,544. Of those, there have been 139 confirmed and probable cases in Lincoln County and just 10 in Wiscasset, according to data last reported Nov. 15. 

“It is critically important that our school communities continue to do everything we can in order to keep our schools safe, open, and able to provide in-person instruction,” Wood said in another letter to families last week. “This may include making the safe and difficult choice to limit holiday gathering and travel, as we know that both have additional risks for exposure and transmission of the virus.”

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