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May 7, 2021 PPS Weekly COVID update

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May 7, 2021 PPS Weekly COVID update
Posted on 05/07/2021
This is the image for the news article titled May 7, 2021 PPS Weekly COVID update This Portland Public Schools’ COVID-19 advisory covers the time period from May 1 through today, Friday May 7. 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 (MDOE) updated its color-coded county rating system today, May 7. Cumberland County remains categorized as “green” for the purposes of in-person learning. One county, Androscoggin, is rated as “yellow” but other counties previously in that category have been upgraded to “green.” 

MDOE continues to require that schools 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. The state reported on May 7 that, in the previous 30 days, the rate of new cases for school staff and students has remained steady at 46 per 10,000, about 40 percent lower than a new case rate of 78 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 May 21.

Positive cases associated with PPS schools from May 1 through May 7: 
Deering High School:  3 positives, 3 close contacts
Ocean Avenue Elementary School: 1 positive, 0 close contacts
Portland High School: 1 positive, 36 close contacts
Talbot Elementary School:  1 positive, 10 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. 

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.