LAKES REGION — Two more schools are under investigation by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention for open outbreaks and one district has gone fully remote until January as the number of COVID-19 cases in schools and towns across the region continues to rise.

Lake Region School District Superintendent Al Smith announced in a letter to the community Dec. 11 that the entire district, including adult education programs, will go fully remote until students return from the winter break on Jan. 4.

The same day, Smith announced that two more district staff members had tested positive for the virus, adding to three other cases among transportation department staff.

“While students could safely return to school on 12/21, it would not be productive to do so,” Smith wrote in the letter.

Two students at Stevens Brook Elementary School and one at Lake Region Middle School tested positive last week. On Nov. 29, a middle school staff member was the first individual to test positive in SAD 61.

Gray-New Gloucester High School went fully remote for three days this week due to staffing shortages, the second time that high absenteeism among teachers and educational technicians has forced SAD 15 Superintendent Craig King to close the high school.

Windham-Raymond and Bonny Eagle schools have seen the highest number of cases this semester, with 25 and 31 cumulative cases, respectively.

SAD 6 Superintendent Paul Penna announced in a letter Dec. 14 that the Maine CDC has designated Bonny Eagle High School and Bonny Eagle Middle School as open outbreak sites.

An outbreak investigation is opened when there are three or more positive COVID-19 cases that are non-epidemiologically linked over the course of 14 days. An investigation is closed when there are no new cases for 28 days, or two infectious periods.

“We want to assure the community that all positive cases have been determined to be due to outside transmission factors and not transmitted through the schools,” Penna wrote.

RSU 14 saw a jump in cases over the last two weeks and Windham Middle School and Windham High School remain open outbreak sites.

Raymond Elementary School also saw its first case earlier this week and while there have been four new cases at Windham Primary School, there is no announcement of an outbreak investigation there.

The Maine Department of Education’s dashboard listing cases per school has not been updated since Dec. 10 as of Wednesday afternoon.

Neither superintendent has made any indication that they will go fully remote learning before the winter break begins next week.

The only school district where the case count has remained stagnant is in Sebago. There is still only one case at Sebago Elementary School from Nov. 20.

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