RSU 57 in York County delays start of school following positive COVID-19 test – WCSH-WLBZ

The Waterboro-based School Unit is pushing back its start date to Sept. 14 after an individual from the transportation department tested positive for COVID-19.

WATERBORO, Maine — Regional School Unit (RSU) 57 based in Waterboro is delaying the start of the school year to September 14 “out of an abundance of caution” due to a positive COVID-19.

In a letter sent to students and families on Monday, RSU 57 Superintendent Larry Malone said an individual associated with the transportation department recently tested positive for COVID-19. Malone emphasizes that the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) has determined the individual not to be a close contact by way of the contact tracing process. 

RSU 57 schools were set to start the first phase of their back to school plan on Tuesday with some students attending classes in-person while some remained remote. 

Malone says in light of the positive test, remote and in-person instruction will now begin on September 14. In the meantime, Malone says the school district’s technology department is working on deploying student devices to support remote learning and a detailed reopening plan will be forthcoming.

RELATED: York County schools moved to ‘yellow’ designation amid jail outbreak

On Friday, the Maine Department of Education reclassified York County schools as “yellow” amid the coronavirus outbreak at the York County Jail. The yellow designation means there’s an elevated risk of COVID-19 spread and schools should consider hybrid instructional models to limit the number of people in classrooms at the same time. 

The state guidance is updated every two weeks. 

While all 16 Maine counties were initially given “green” classifications by the state, a majority of schools opted for a hybrid model. Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Maine CDC reassessed both York and Penobscot counties one week early “due to recent, concerning trends,” the Department explained, but Penobscot County remains green at this time, based on their assessment.

Last week, RSU 74 in Somerset County also pushed back the start of school after a student tested positive for COVID-19.

For now, RSU 57 has made the following adjustments:

  • PreK and Kindergarten screening will be delayed until further notice.
  • PreK and Kindergarten school bus orientation will be delayed until further notice.
  • Curbside meal pick-up will be available at all schools on Tuesday, September 8 and Thursday, September 10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the front entrance at each school 

The Maine DOE will update its guidance every other Friday based on evolving data. The next update is scheduled for Sept. 11 at 12 p.m.