The following letter from Wiscasset Superintendent of Schools Terry Wood went live on wiscassetschools.org Wednesday, Nov. 18:
“Out of an abundance of caution, this letter is to inform you there have been possible exposures to WMHS (Wiscasset Middle High School) staff and students. Without a definitive test result of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Wiscasset Middle High School, school instruction will move to RED, or fully remote instruction beginning tomorrow, Nov. 19 until Nov. 30. Based on (Maine Center for Disease Control) recommendations, and using our own safety protocols for safety precautions, the Wiscasset Middle High School will be closed for four days for any in-person instruction.
“Our plan stated that we would be closing for three days but due to the holiday schedule, we will be closing for four days. We will be conducting extensive cleaning and disinfecting, which has begun today to help prevent any spread of COVID-19.
“Wiscasset Elementary School will remain open and in the current hybrid learning model.
“Keeping each student and staff member safe and healthy is our number one priority. Please be assured that during this time we will take all precautionary measures to ensure that our schools are safe to return to school on Nov. 30.
“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, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, diarrhea, cough, fatigue, headache, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting.
“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.
“These measures include proper handwashing 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 is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with
at least 60% 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.
“School-related questions can be directed to Nurse Marilyn Sprague by calling 882-7767. For general COVID-19 questions, dial 211 (or 1-866-811-5695). You can also text your ZIP code to 898-211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Call your personal healthcare 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.
In email responses to questions, Wood told Wiscasset Newspaper: “We really can’t elaborate (on the possible exposures) as we do not have a positive case from students or staff. We had family members test positive so we proceeded with the state’s guidelines. I only received one email from a parent asking if we needed to worry about WES and (WMHS Principal Chuck Lomonte) responded to her.”