Casco Bay High School dismissed school early today, Friday, Dec. 2, due to a significant number of students and staff out because of the flu. The school is expected to reopen on Monday, Dec. 5.
With 32 percent of staff and students absent due to illness, the school is considered to be in outbreak status for flu by the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC). The state defines outbreak status as at least 15 percent of all students and staff being absent due to a specific illness. School outbreak status does not necessarily warrant school closure and can be evaluated on a case-by case basis.
In the Casco Bay High School case, the school dismissed students early on Friday, at 11:50 a.m. instead of the usual 2:50 p.m. time, because of the high number of student and staff absences. The school adjusted its Friday schedule so that students had a shortened version of each of their classes before the early dismissal and students were able to pick up a school lunch before heading home.
In a letter to the school community, Casco Bay Principal Derek Pierce expressed gratitude “to school Nurse Becky Bell and staff for managing this outbreak and to our fabulous custodial crew for giving our building a deep cleaning over the weekend.” He added, “We anticipate the weekend will allow enough recovery time for us to resume normal operations on Monday. We will keep you updated and let you know if circumstances change.”
To prevent more cases of infectious/contagious illness, all PPS students and staff are urged to monitor themselves for symptoms of the flu or other illness and stay home if they have any. Contact your school nurse with any questions. Click HERE for some helpful facts about the flu from PPS School Nurse Coordinator Tina Veilleux.
As a reminder, the city of Portland’s Public Health Division, working with Northern Light, is offering a flu and COVID bivalent booster vaccination clinic on Saturday, Dec.10, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, at 39 Forest Ave. Flu and COVID vaccinations will be available to the public, insured and uninsured. Learn more.