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Sept. 17, 2021 PPS Weekly COVID update

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Sept. 17, 2021 PPS Weekly COVID update
Posted on 09/17/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Sept. 17, 2021 PPS Weekly COVID update This Portland Public Schools’ COVID-19 advisory covers the time period from Sept. 11 through today, Friday, Sept. 17.

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.

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.

Currently, vaccines, universal masking indoors and on buses, and pooled testing for students in kindergarten through grade 6 are the district’s top health and safety measures for keeping students learning in our classrooms. Other protocols include daily symptom checks, physical distancing, masking outdoors in congested settings where physical distance is difficult, frequent hand washing, enhanced cleaning, keeping windows open, and having everyone spend as much time outdoors as possible.

Pooled testing in grades K-6 – where students currently are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine – starts Monday, Sept. 20. Pooled PCR testing can detect cases of COVID-19 at incredibly low levels, catching cases in asymptomatic individuals before they become symptomatic or infectious, thus reducing spread. Pooled testing is voluntary but PPS urges all K-6 families to register their children to help keep our schools safer. There is open enrollment, but you must register your student by a Friday to be included in the following week's pool.

Also, those in the PPS community who are eligible but not yet vaccinated – staff, students, families and other community members – are urged to get their shot. Here’s a link to find vaccination sites in Maine. PPS is holding weekly vaccination clinics at our secondary schools. There also will be a flu shot clinic and COVD-19 vaccination clinic from10 a.m. to noon  at our Back to School Fair on Saturday, Sept 18, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at East End Community School.

Positive cases and close contacts required to quarantine associated with PPS schools from Sept. 11 through Sept. 17:
Lyman Moore Middle School: 1 positive, 0 close contacts
Presumpscot Elementary School: 1 positive, 0 close contacts
Talbot Community School: 3 positives, 29 close contacts
Lyman Moore Middle School: 1 positive, 0 close contacts

Presumpscot Elementary School: 1 positive, 0 close contacts

Talbot Community School: 2 positives, 16 close contacts


*Note: Some cases may have 0 close contacts because they have not been at school during
their infectious period, so there was no exposure within the school community. 

Building Closures and Outbreaks at PPS schools from Sept. 11 through Sept. 17:
Lyseth Elementary School:
As PPS reported last week, the CDC declared an outbreak at Lyseth Elementary due to nine positive cases at the school. 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. These cases were connected to a neighborhood child care facility so the school was closed on Monday, Sept. 13, while all remaining students who attend that program were tested to determine if there was any additional exposure within the school. The school reopened on Sept. 14 for most students. There were 38 close contacts at Lyseth who were exposed at the child care facility. Portland Public Schools continues to collaborate with the CDC to monitor the situation and will inform Lyseth families if there are any updates.

Lyseth Elementary School: As PPS reported last week, the CDC declared an outbreak at Lyseth Elementary due to nine positive cases at the school. 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. These cases were connected to a neighborhood child care facility so the school was closed on Monday, Sept. 13, while all remaining students who attend that program were tested to determine if there was any additional exposure within the school. The school reopened on Sept. 14 for most students. There were 38 close contacts at Lyseth who were exposed at the child care facility. Portland Public Schools continues to collaborate with the CDC to monitor the situation and will inform Lyseth families if there are any updates.

Here’s a link to the district’s Report Card on the status of all positive cases to date. Here’s also a link to the district’s Outbreak Status and Closure Criteria

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.