The Star-Herald

Numerous PIMS students, staff members isolating due to potential COVID exposure

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Since dismissing students at 1 p.m. Thursday due to an individual testing positive for COVID-19, Presque Isle Middle School has confirmed that a second person associated with the school has tested positive.

The first individual was last in the school on Friday, Jan. 8, SAD 1 superintendent Ben Greenlaw said. As of Jan. 14, 44 students and four staff members have begun a 10-day isolation period because they are considered close contacts of that individual.

A second person from PIMS tested positive and was last in the school on Wednesday, Jan. 13. As a result, 40 students and six staff members who are close contacts are now self-isolating. Presque Isle Middle School was closed Friday, Jan. 15, due to the vast number of students and staff members absent.

“[We] do not have the substitute staff available to cover for these absences,” Greenlaw said, in a letter to parents late Thursday afternoon.

As of Thursday SAD 1 plans to reopen the middle school for in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 19. But those plans could change if the Maine Department of Education places Aroostook County schools under the “yellow” designation, requiring them to transition to a hybrid learning model. 

The announcement is expected at noon Friday, Greenlaw said.

“I will be notifying the community tomorrow afternoon if Aroostook County is classified as yellow or recommended for hybrid instruction, with additional information regarding the transition,” Greenlaw said.

All other SAD 1 schools will be open tomorrow under their usual schedules. 

The middle school’s announcement comes just days after Presque Isle High School released students early due to an individual who tested postive for COVID-19. Students who were not deemed close contacts resumed in-person learning Wednesday.

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