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Lyseth To Reopen for Most Students

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Lyseth To Reopen for Most Students
Posted on 09/13/2021
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After a one-day shutdown at Lyseth Elementary School on Monday, Sept. 13 – due to nine COVID cases at the school reported on Friday – the school will reopen tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 14, for most classes. However, eight classrooms will remain closed for potentially two or more days as the district works to confirm there has been no exposure in those classes.

The Maine Center for Disease Control declared an outbreak at Lyseth due to the nine positive cases reported Sept. 10. An outbreak means that there are three or more cases of COVID-19 within a 14-day period that meet the CDC criteria for an outbreak.

The cases at Lyseth, which resulted in 38 close contacts at the school that need to quarantine, appear to be connected to a neighborhood child care facility. An outbreak does not require a school to be closed. However, after consulting with public health and medical advisors, Portland Public Schools leadership decided to close Lyseth on Monday while all remaining students who were identified as possible close contacts could be tested and determine if there was any additional exposure within the school.

Over the weekend, school staff worked with the families of identified students to schedule testing. To date, there have been no additional positives from this follow-up testing. However, there are still nearly a dozen tests pending results.

School officials and staff are prioritizing bringing students back to in person instruction as quickly as it can rule out possible exposure.  The school is in the process of informing Lyseth families directly regarding the status of their child’s classroom and the remote learning plans for classes that need to quarantine. Meals will continue to be available on site for families wishing to pick them up during the closure.

We recognize the challenge that having students out of school presents for students and families. We thank Lyseth families and staff for their cooperation and understanding as we balance this with the health and safety of everyone. We urge Lyseth families to diligently practice health and safety protocols and to monitor themselves for symptoms.

The Portland Public Schools continues to collaborate with the Maine CDC and the City of Portland Department of Health to monitor the situation.

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-price school meals.