The Maine Department of Education (MDOE) designated Cumberland County as “yellow” on December 18, due to an increase in cases and positivity rates. That designation was renewed on December 31st and remains in place according to a press release from the Portland School Department issued yesterday. MDOE is expected to next update the ratings on January 15th.
A yellow rating indicates that there is increased risk of COVID spread in a county. Despite the increase in cases in the community, the vast majority of Portland Public School cases to date have originated from contacts outside of school, not from spread within our schools.
Winter break began December 23, The district’s secondary schools were in full remote learning on Monday, December 21 and Tuesday, December 22, but elementary schools continued with our in-person hybrid model. The district closed our secondary schools because they had been the ones impacted most of the positive cases reported. The closure was an effort to reduce COVID exposure for students, families and staff as much as possible, and limit additional contact tracing to help our hard-working murder team take a much-needed break.
All our schools returned to our hybrid learning model on Monday, January 4 and have remained in that mode throughout the week.
East End Community School, North Street on Munjoy Hill, has reported five positive cases, 20 close contacts from December 19 – January 8tdh.