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Feb. 12, 2021 PPS Weekly COVID update

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Feb. 12, 2021 PPS Weekly COVID update
Posted on 02/12/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Feb. 12, 2021 PPS Weekly COVID updateThis Portland Public Schools’ weekly COVID-19 advisory covers the time period from Feb. 6 through Friday, Feb. 12. It 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. 

Cumberland County remains categorized as green in the Maine Department of Education’s (MDOE) color-coded county rating system. In fact, as of today, Feb. 12, MDOE rated all 16 counties statewide as green. A green rating indicates a relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread throughout a county, but schools still are required to follow 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 spread within our schools. 

Other school districts report similar data. Health authorities continue to review evidence that indicates lower transmission of COVID-19 in schools compared to the general population. That latest figures show that over the last 30 days, the rate of new cases is 36 per 10,000 for staff and students, as compared to 81 per 10,000 for people statewide. “Evidence continues to demonstrate that in-person learning in schools that follow public health precautions can be conducted safely without increased transmission of COVID-19,” MDOE said. 

MDOE plans to next update the ratings on Feb 26.

Positive cases associated with PPS schools from Feb. 6 through Feb. 12
Deering High School: 2 positives, 0 close contacts
East End Community School: 1 positive, 0 close contacts
King Middle School: 2 positives, 0 close contacts
Longfellow Elementary School: 1 positive, 8 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. 

Outbreaks designated at PPS schools from Feb. 6 through Feb. 12:
Casco Bay High School and Deering High School: Casco Bay High School was designated this past week as an outbreak site despite the fact that it was more than a week since the last CBHS positive case. Maine CDC also determined that recent cases at Deering High School constituted an outbreak. 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. An outbreak does not necessarily warrant a school closure. Since the district had already executed the appropriate measures to respond to these recent cases, including notifying and quarantining all close contacts and implementing enhanced cleaning protocols, it was determined it was safe for students to remain in school. See the Feb. 8 letter to CBHS community and the Feb 12 letter to the DHS community, attached.

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.