A support staff member at Searsport Middle High School has tested positive for COVID-19, and eight high school students who were possible close contacts are in quarantine, according to Regional School Unit 20 Superintendent Chris Downing.

In a letter to district staff, students and families Nov. 18, Downing said there is a possibility other staff or students came in contact with this person and may have been exposed to the virus.

Downing said the staffer who tested positive is in quarantine and the announcement has not affected the high school-middle school schedule of four days in-person and one day remote.

“We are keeping with our maintenance schedule” for disinfecting surfaces and cleaning buses thoroughly, Downing said. The district is also following protocols established by Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The district sent out the notice, “out of an abundance of caution” and encouraged students, family and staff to monitor themselves and to call a health care provider if symptoms start. It is important to call one's health care provider before showing up in person, he said.

Maine CDC or a school representative will contact students directly if they are identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive. Close contacts will be asked to quarantine for 14 days from last exposure to the positive individual.

Downing praised the school nurse for doing an “outstanding” job in dealing with the situation, along with the rest of the administration.