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SAD 27 moves to remote learning model for rest of 2020 due to COVID-19 outbreak at local business

FORT KENT, Maine — Students in the SAD 27 district will move to a remote learning model for the rest of 2020 due to an outbreak  of COVID-19 at a local business.

Superintendent Ben Sirois issued a letter Sunday notifying parents that school will be canceled for Monday, Dec. 7, so teachers and school officials can plan school lunch home deliveries and prepare for the remote learning sessions, which will begin on Tuesday.

The letter did not identify the business at which the COVID-19 outbreak occurred. 

The families of the positive individuals are all under quarantine and all family members have been tested, Sirois said. He added that contact tracing of the positive individuals led to several other families going into quarantine.

Some of those individuals tested negative for the virus on Sunday, but several others are still awaiting results, Sirois said.

Several administrators and school nurses worked throughout the day to ensure that all school-related close contacts of the infected people have been identified and contacted.

The two other Valley Unified school units, Madawaska School Department and SAD 33, will continue with in-person classes for the time being.

With 188 total cases, Aroostook County has the lowest COVID-19 rate of any county in Maine as of Dec. 5, though it has fewer total cases than three less populous counties (Sagadahoc, Lincoln and Piscataquis), according to Maine Center for Disease Control data. Aroostook County has a population of just over 67,000 residents. There are 68 active cases in The County.

As COVID-19 cases have risen across The County, so have school closings. 

Students attending nearby Van Buren District School in SAD 24 were dismissed early on Friday after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Van Buren students will participate in remote learning until Dec. 16 

SAD 45 and SAD 1 are among the school districts currently doing remote learning after cases within their walls. Limestone Community School also announced it would go remote for two days on Friday after an elementary school student was deemed a presumptive positive case. 

Presque Isle reporter David Marino Jr. contributed to this report.

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