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April 9, 2021 PPS Weekly COVID update

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April 9, 2021 PPS Weekly COVID update
Posted on 04/09/2021
This is the image for the news article titled April 9, 2021 PPS Weekly COVID update This Portland Public Schools’ COVID-19 advisory covers the time period from April 3 through today, Friday, April 9. This advisory includes the number of positive cases associated with our schools during this period and any outbreak declarations or building closures as a result. PPS notifies students, families and staff of impacted schools immediately when we receive notice of positive cases, but the weekly advisory is an effort to keep the broader PPS community informed. 

The Maine Department of Education’s (MDOE) updated its color-coded county rating system today, April 9, and all Maine counties remain categorized as “green,” although Androscoggin and Oxford counties are being closely monitored. MDOE also noted that both new case rates and positivity rates have increased in the last two weeks statewide, but said that – for the purpose of in-person learning – all counties remain green. 

A green rating indicates a relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread throughout a county. However, MDOE still requires schools to follow the six state-mandated health and safety measures for in-person instruction. Those protocols are working to help keep schools safe; the vast majority of PPS cases to date have originated from contacts outside of school, not from within our schools. 

From a statewide perspective, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and Maine CDC continue to review evidence that indicates lower transmission of COVID-19 in schools compared to the general population. State statistics show that, over the past 30 days, the rate of new cases for school staff and students is 37 per 10,000, about 25 percent lower than a new case rate of 50 per 10,000 for the general population. “This continues to demonstrate that in-person learning in schools that follow public health precautions can be conducted safely, without increased transmission of COVID-19,” according to state health authorities. The county ratings will be updated again on April 23.

Positive cases associated with PPS schools from April 3 through April 9: 
East End Community School: 2 positives, 11 close contacts 
King Middle School: 1 positive, 13 close contacts
Lincoln Middle School: 2 positives, 82 close contacts
Lyman Moore Middle School: 2 positives, 34 close contacts
Ocean Avenue Elementary School: 1 positive, 0 close contacts
Portland High School: 2 positives, 44 close contacts

*Note: Some cases have 0 close contacts because those who tested positive weren't at school during their infectious period. Here is a link to the district’s Report Card on the status of all positive cases to date. 

COVID-Related Closures at PPS schools from April 3 through April 9:
Lincoln Middle School: The Lincoln Middle School building was closed on Friday, April 9, due to staff absences, and student learning was fully remote. The staff shortage was due to a combination of staff  being in quarantine because of a recent COVID case and other staff absences for reasons that included vaccination appointments. With all the absences, the school was unable to safely provide in-person learning that day. Students at those schools who were going to be learning in person on Friday will instead had synchronous remote classes. Lincoln families were notified of the closing on April 8 letter to the LMS community.) They will be updated again if there are any changes to Lincoln's schedule for the start of the week.

Learn about the procedures for outbreaks and school closures

The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 60 languages. 52 percent of the district’s students are white and 48 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced school meals.