LISBON — Lisbon schools will stop teaching students full-time within school walls next week due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Lisbon High School will start remote-only learning on Wednesday. The high school was closed this week so contractors could finish repairing windows in the building and because there were suspected new cases of COVID-19 and one new confirmed case.

Lisbon Community School, Philip W. Sugg Middle School and Gartley Street School will start tentatively transitioning Monday to a hybrid model, which is a mix of in-person instruction and remote online instruction.

The learning programs at the four schools are expected to continue until Jan. 8, 2021.

In a message to students, families and staff Friday, Superintendent Richard Green wrote that there have been five positive cases of COVID-19 reported from four different high school families since last Dec. 4. These cases also impacted the middle school, Gartley Street School and 15 teachers district-wide, Green said.

There had been 13,033 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maine and 1,671 confirmed cases in Androscoggin County as of Thursday, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports. There had been 38 cases of COVID-19 in Lisbon and 46 cases in Lisbon Falls as of Dec. 6, according to the Maine CDC.

State health officials reported 345 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday as well as four additional deaths among infected people, the Portland Press Herald reported.

It was the third day this week that new COVID-19 cases topped 400, with a record-high 427 cases on Monday.

Green stressed Tuesday that students’ use of remote-learning at home instead of getting instruction at school full-time, is temporary. It is only anticipated to last 12 days for most students, Green said.

“The number of positive cases in Maine are 10 times higher than they were a few weeks ago and we have determined that the benefit to stalling full-time in-person does not outweigh the anticipated safety concerns at this time,” Green states in the letter.

The Maine CDC hasn’t told the district it needs to move the high school into the remote-only model, but it only makes sense, Green said.

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