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May 27, 2022 PPS Weekly COVID update

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May 27, 2022 PPS Weekly COVID update
Posted on 05/27/2022
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This Portland Public Schools’ COVID-19 advisory reports numbers from the past six weeks, from mid-April through today, Friday, May 27. These weekly advisories are an effort to keep the broader PPS community informed about the number of positive cases by school. 

We continue to monitor local and state COVID data. This week, Cumberland County moved from a “red” or “high” category to “yellow” or “medium” on the federal CDC COVID-19 Community Levels tracker. In addition, our district data has had two weeks of decreasing cases and local wastewater detection levels are down.  Given that data and with guidance from federal and state health authorities and our district medical advisers, the district will return to optional mask wearing for staff and students when we return from the Memorial Day weekend, on Tuesday, May 31.

We still strongly recommend that students and staff wear masks as a preventative measure, and masks will continue to be mandated in some instances. Staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to wear a mask if they return to school prior to the 10th day of quarantine. Anyone who is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and is a close contact of a positive case should mask for 5 days from last contact.  Also, our school-based health centers require masking in those spaces.

We encourage staff and families of students who have health issues personally or in their immediate households to consult with their healthcare providers to seek guidance on masking recommendations and other necessary accommodations, given this change to our protocols. We’ll provide children’s sized KN95 masks free of charge to students of any families requesting them.

We will continue to monitor state, school and community data for the last two weeks of this school year and as we move into our summer school program. We’ll update you about any new recommendations regarding masking and other health and safety protocols.

The Maine Department of Education has ended the State's pooled testing program, so pooled testing at the Portland Public Schools ended two weeks ago. Pooled testing was designed to prevent the spread of COVID, but with the rapid 1- to 2-day incubation period of the new variant, pooled testing is not able to identify cases before they may have already spread to others.

Instead of pooled testing, the Maine Department of Education and the Maine CDC are recommending frequent rapid testing. They have made up to six tests available for each PPS student and staff member. Each student and staff member will receive three kits (each kit contains two tests). We have received our allotment of test kits and they have been delivered to all schools. Schools have begun sending kits home with students. 

Anyone with symptoms, vaccinated or unvaccinated, should stay home and test for COVID-19. If you have symptoms, you should have at least two negative rapid tests at least 24 hours apart. Contact your school nurse before returning to school.

We also are continuing our hygiene measures and symptom checks and will keep on encouraging vaccination and boosters to continue to keep schools safe for students and staff. 

 Vaccines and boosters remain the foremost protection against COVID. In partnership with Greater Portland Health, we are offering boosters to any eligible student at our school-based clinics at Casco Bay, Deering and Portland high schools, as well as vaccinations, and continuing our weekly COVID vaccination clinic at King Middle School. Here’s a link to find vaccination sites in Maine. That site also contains information about booster shots.

District-wide, our staff vaccination rate is more than 95 percent. We continue to offer a $100 incentive to staff that show their supervisor proof of vaccination, and we also are offering another $100 incentive for any staff member who provides visual proof to their supervisor that they have received their first booster shot. PPS employees who choose not to be vaccinated are required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. 

Below is a chart showing positive cases by school over the past six weeks. The numbers are current as of Friday afternoon, May 27.  Due to health privacy laws, the district does not disclose specific information about individuals that test positive, such as whether they’re staff or students, the grade level they’re associated with, vaccination status, etc.

Here’s a link to the district’s Report Card on positive cases to date. You can refer to this live document throughout the week for updated numbers. You also can view a state COVID-19 dashboard that tracks cases in Maine schools and any outbreaks. None of Portland’s public schools is in outbreak status.

 

Grade Level

School Name

4/17/2022

4/24/2022

5/1/2022

5/8/2022

5/15/2022

5/22/2022

Elementary

Cliff & Peak Island Schools

0

2

0

0

3

1

East End Community School

1

7

2

4

4

3

Gerald E. Talbot Community School

1

2

9

15

4

8

Longfellow Elementary School

1

3

25

22

2

8

Lyseth Elementary School

3

7

12

21

8

4

Ocean Avenue School

2

12

11

15

8

6

Presumpscot Elementary School

0

4

3

2

5

1

Reiche Elementary School

0

7

1

6

2

2

Rowe Elementary School

0

6

13

14

7

6

Middle School

King Middle School

0

6

7

1

3

0

Lincoln Middle School

0

7

6

8

13

9

Lyman Moore Middle School

1

6

7

21

14

10

High School

Casco Bay High School

1

8

8

10

4

2

Deering High School

1

3

8

5

8

9

Portland Arts and Technology High School

0

0

1

1

0

0

Portland High School

0

17

17

5

12

8

TOTAL

11

97

130

150

97

77



The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with approximately 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 50 languages. 51 percent of the district’s students are white and 49 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.