Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit 12 Superintendent of Schools Howard Tuttle issued the following letter Wednesday, Sept. 30 at SVRSU.org, the website of the district that serves Westport Island, Alna, Whitefield, Palermo, Chelsea, Somerville and Windsor. The announcement was headed, “COVID-19 probable case community letter:
“Dear RSU 12 students, families, staff and community,
“This letter is to inform you that an individual associated with Windsor Elementary School has been designated a probable case for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). A probable case means that the individual has symptoms associated with COVID-19 and they had direct contact with someone who tested positive. We are currently awaiting COVID-19 test results for the individual. There is a possibility that other staff or students came in contact with this individual and therefore may be exposed to the virus. We are informing you out of an abundance of caution. Please monitor yourself/your student for signs and symptoms. Call a health care provider if symptoms start. It is important that you call a healthcare facility before you show up in person. Stay home if you are sick. Due to the individual’s probable case for COVID-19, RSU #12 will be implementing the following for Windsor Elementary School as recommended by the Maine CDC. If your student came in direct contact with the individual at Windsor Elementary School, then you will be contacted directly by the school with directions to quarantine as we wait for more information. Deep cleaning will take place in areas where the individual had direct contact.
“COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that ranges from mild to severe. It can be more severe in adults 60 years and older and in those with underlying conditions. The virus mainly spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and an uninfected person breathes in the virus. Signs and symptoms include fever or chills, new loss of taste or smell, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, congestion or runny nose, fatigue, nausea or vomiting, muscle or body aches, diarrhea and headache.
“Please keep in mind that many things can cause respiratory illness, so students and staff should be up-to-date on influenza and routine vaccinations.
“Maine CDC or a school representative will contact you directly if you are identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive. Close contacts will be asked to quarantine for 14 days from last exposure to the positive individual. A negative test result does not get an individual out of quarantine.
“Maine CDC recommends ... measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures include proper hand-washing with soap and warm water, which is especially important after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. When soap and water (are) not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands and avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
“Questions for individual schools can be directed to the building principal or the school nurse. For general district information, you can contact the RSU 12 Central Office. For general COVID-19 questions, dial 211 (or 1-866-811-5695). You can also text your ZIP code to 898-211 or email email@example.com. Call a health care provider for questions about your symptoms. More information can be found at www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus,” the letter concludes.
Wiscasset Newspaper asked Tuttle via email if the person was a staff member or student. He responded: “For privacy reasons, I prefer not to share this information at this time.”
In other responses, Tuttle said Maine CDC on Wednesday, Sept. 30 informed the district of the probable case; the deep cleaning the letter referred to has been done; and about 20 people have been contacted due to risk of exposure. The school has about 330 students, Tuttle said.