Remote learning has been extended for one week at Mildred L. Day School in Arundel after four additional COVID-19 cases were confirmed at the elementary school in Regional School Unit 21.

Additional cases also were reported at Kennebunk Elementary and Kennebunk Consolidated schools, according to district officials who are following the rules of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Today, we were notified of four additional positive cases of COVID-19 at Mildred L. Day,” Superintendent Terri Cooper said Friday in a written statement. “There were no additional close contacts identified for the school for these cases.”

Day School’s total case count is 20 individuals, with eight of those cases confirmed in the last two days, Cooper said. Remote learning will be extended for one week, with a plan to reopen Monday, Sept. 20.

“There will be no in-person attendance,” Cooper said. “This decision was based on what appears to be evidence of early school-based transmission at MLD and high rates of community transmission in Arundel.”

Day School started remote learning this week after 143 people were identified as close contacts of four people from the school who tested positive for COVID-19. The first day of school was Aug. 31.

Also this week, four classrooms at the Sea Road School, which serves students in grades 3-5, went to remote learning when one person tested positive after having multiple close contacts at the school. Students in those classes will return to school on Monday, school officials said.

On Sept. 1, the district notified staff and families that 64 people at the Middle School of the Kennebunks and Kennebunk High School were identified as close contacts after people in those schools tested positive for the virus.

Day School’s extended closure will help to contain the spike in positive cases and reduce community spread, according to a Maine CDC consultant and Dr. Donald Burgess, RSU 21’s consulting physician.

Cooper urged Day School families to stay home.

“Play dates and participation in community events will increase the spread that we are experiencing,” Cooper said. “RSU 21 continues to use the same safety measures at all schools – universal masking, hand sanitizing/washing, and 3-foot distancing in classrooms whenever possible.”

The district also was notified Friday of an additional confirmed COVID-19 case at Kennebunk Elementary School, where two cases were reported on Thursday, and a case at Kennebunk Consolidated School, Cooper said. There were no additional close contacts identified with either new case. Individual students confirmed to have COVID-19 at these schools are learning remotely.

Maine CDC and district officials are closely monitoring infection rates at the Day and Kennebunk Elementary schools, both of which are in outbreak status, Cooper said.

She urged families of students identified as close contacts to stay home from school until they get a negative COVID-19 test result, not an at-home antigen test.

“These tests are crucial to the protection of other students and employees,” Cooper said. “The high potential of asymptomatic positive cases among children makes this testing especially important. These tests will help us to minimize the spread of COVID-19, reduce additional quarantines and keep RSU 21 schools open.”

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