The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has deemed the recent spike in COVID-19 cases at the Mount View Complex an outbreak, and has begun an investigation.

The designation was issued Monday, Jan. 11, because the complex, which houses an elementary school, middle school and high school, has had three or more cases of COVID-19 within a 14-day period.

At the Jan. 11 school board meeting, Regional School Unit 3 Superintendent Charles Brown said the complex has seen eight cases, six since the middle of December.

“The CDC has notified us today,” he said, adding that the Mount View Complex is being considered one facility, rather than three separate schools.

At present, 33 students and staff in the district have symptoms. Of those, he said, six are isolated because of direct contact with someone who tested positive. The most recent case was identified Thursday, Jan. 7.

Brown said none of the positive cases at the Mount View Complex are still active, and that all have returned to school after quarantining. A case announced Jan. 8, he noted, is still in quarantine, but is not linked to the Mount View Complex.

“The CDC outbreak is specific to just the Mount View Complex due to the cases between Dec. 18 and 31,” he said. “We are encouraging anyone with symptoms to monitor closely, consult with their health care provider and get tested as necessary."

Brown said he is “pretty certain” all of the recent cases were transmitted outside the schools. Because of the timing, he said, there will not be a need to close the school.

In a Jan. 12 letter to the RSU 3 community, Brown said staff at Mount View will continue to follow recommendations from the Maine CDC and to clean, sanitize and disinfect to help prevent further spread of the virus.

Spokesman Robert Long said the CDC opens an outbreak investigation when epidemiological links are established between three or more cases from separate households and confirmed that an investigation associated with Mount View has been opened.

The investigation closes, he added, after the completion of a 14-day incubation period with no new cases.

“Our outbreak investigation team works with school personnel by providing information on how to limit exposure and transmission within the school community,” Long said.

“School nurses play a vital role in this process, so we are grateful to them and all other members of the school community working together to ensure the health and safety of students, staff and other potentially affected individuals.”

Brown said, “If the outbreak status continues, we will have to have a conversation about moving to a remote status at the complex."

Plans are in place in the event the district has to shift to full remote learning, he said, “much like we did last spring.”

Brown said it is too early to tell what changes will be in store for the district as a result of the outbreak designation, and with the CDC investigation still underway.

“Fortunately, the majority of the cases that led to that designation occurred over the school break,” he said. “But because they were students/staff of RSU 3, we had to report their connection to the schools.

“We are consulting with the CDC, monitoring our cases closely and will make any adjustments that are necessary per their guidance,” he said.

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