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Limestone Community School staying red until Jan. 4

LIMESTONE, Maine — Citing daily spikes in Aroostook County COVID-19 cases, Limestone Community School Principal Ben Lothrop announced via the school’s social media page that the school would remain in the red or remote learning model until Jan. 4.

Lothrop said on Dec. 4 that the school would be moving to the red model after he was told that an elementary student was presumed positive for the virus. Lothrop said the student was not in school on Friday, but did attend earlier in the week.

The decision to continue with the red model until Jan. 4 was not an easy one, but that it was made out of concern for the health and safety of the community, as well as a need for some stability for students, staff and families, Lothrop said in his latest announcement.

Anyone associated with the school who may be a close contact of a confirmed case will be notified by the school nurse, he said. If parents do not hear from the nurse, he said their child would not be a close contact of any case they are currently aware of.

“We are hoping that following the holiday season, the curve will flatten and we can get back to in-person education,” Lothrop said. “We will update everyone at that time as to our plan, which will depend upon the health and safety conditions in our local area.”

Until then, the principal said lunch and breakfast will be delivered until Dec. 23, and that remote learning will occur on all weekdays except Wednesdays, which will be reserved for student catch-up and teacher preparations.

He also asked that any families with potential COVID-19 exposure keep the school nurse informed, even during the remote learning period.

Lothrop asked any families to contact their child’s teacher, the school’s social worker, the school nurse, the office or himself if they need any assistance during the extended remote period.

“These are incredibly difficult times for everyone, and the stress level is high, but together we can get through this,” he said. “Our teachers and students have become very proficient at distance learning, but we need everyone’s support.”

“I feel the need to say, despite all this, have a happy holiday season,” Lothrop wrote. “While it will be much different for everyone, I think it’s important that our children still experience the joys and excitement of this time of year. Hopefully, 2021 will be a much better year for everyone! Take care and stay healthy and safe.”

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