Cape Elizabeth High School closes for one day amid a COVID-19 outbreak
CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (WMTW) - The Cape Elizabeth school board held an emergency session on Thursday night to address a spike in absences due to COVID-19.
Over 20% of high schoolers are currently absent due to illness and over 50% of those students have COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms, classifying it as an outbreak according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
“Friday, we had 2% of our students and staff out at the high school and by today and yesterday we had around 25%,” said Cape Elizabeth Superintendent Christopher Record. “It came out of the blue completely. We didn’t expect it.”
The school board voted to change their existing outbreak protocol, moving to strongly recommend masks instead of requiring them.
“I think they’re recognizing where the community is at in terms of choice and we want to give staff and students choice on whether to wear masks or not,” Record said.
School board members and administrators also choose to close the high school on Friday so janitors could complete a deep sanitization of the building, opting not to go to remote learning on short notice.
The school will remain in outbreak status until the absent rate is below 15% for 14 consecutive days.
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