The Maine CDC has identified two COVID-19 outbreaks in Freeport-area schools, according to a statement from the superintendent on Wednesday.
Freeport High School and Durham Community School are under outbreak status. The schools are part of Regional School Unit 5, which serves Freeport, Pownal and Durham.
An outbreak is defined by three or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a 14-day period that are not linked to the same family. The district reports six cases at Durham Community School and four cases at the high school, where 13 people are quarantined due to potential exposure.
The first days of school for Durham Community School — an elementary school — and Freeport High School were Aug. 30 and Aug 31, respectively.
“The biggest change that occurs when in outbreak status is that we are required to contact trace everyone in a classroom rather than limit it to others who are within a 3 foot radius,” wrote RSU 5 Superintendent Becky Foley. “The only way out of having to quarantine is either by having been vaccinated or by participating in pooled testing.”
Pooled testing combines the same type of specimen from several people in one laboratory test in order to detect the virus that causes COVID-19.
Foley stated that the district hopes to have pooled testing available by Sept. 20 at Durham Community School, and at this time the only available option to avoid quarantine at Freeport High School is through being vaccinated.
“A school representative will contact you directly if you are identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive,” Foley wrote.
Masks are required in all RSU5 schools.
The Maine Department of Education estimates that between 90-94% of eligible Regional School Unit 5 students are vaccinated.
As of Wednesday, 78,803 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in total statewide, alongside 946 deaths.
According to the Maine CDC, just over 72% of Maine residents had received a final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday.