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Updated: Staff member at BAHS may have been exposed to virus

Mar 16, 2020

Belfast — Following a staff meeting at Belfast Area High School Monday, Principal Jeff Lovejoy sent out an email notifying staff that "A staff member has had contact with a relative who works directly with a colleague who has tested positive for the coronavirus. To take precautions we are asking you to go home and self-quarantine until further notice. It is recommended that you go home without interacting with other people."

The email was shared with the paper by a member of the school's staff.

Reached by phone, Lovejoy said the school was taking precautions because a staff member may have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. He said there were between 30 and 40 people at the meeting, which had been called to plan remote instruction while Regional School Unit 71 school are closed in response to the outbreak of the virus.

He said he and other members of the staff are awaiting further instructions from district Superintendent Mary Alice McLean.

Calls to McLean were not immediately returned; however, this afternoon she sent out an email to district staff and school board members saying that she had sent all district staff home and cancelled a budget workshop scheduled for today.

She went on, "A high school teacher has been exposed to another person who was exposed to a third party with Covid-19.

"CDC has recommended that everyone who has been at the high school today practice social-distancing and that quarantine is not yet necessary. That said, I want to assure everyone that you may certainly do what you feel is best, with my blessing.

"I will let everyone know once it is confirmed that the teacher does not have it.

"I'll also share the date we can all come back to work again."

In a phone conversation later in the afternoon, McLean said that at the time the meeting was held in the high school library, school officials believed they were following the latest guidance by having fewer than 50 people present. After the meeting, McLean said, a staff member received an email from a relative who has a work colleague who has tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member had recently been with the relative who sent the email.

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