Superintendent James Tager said COVID security measures prevent the virus from spreading in classrooms.
BANGOR, Maine – The start of the school year has not been easy for some districts in Maine. During the first weeks of classes, schools from Freeport to Van Buren forced some students to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 infections.
Officials from the Bangor School Department said they believe they have succeeded in stopping the spread of COVID in classrooms.
“We have been in person all the time and we are very happy [about it]”said James Tager, superintendent of the Bangor school department.” We have not had any spread within the schools. So it’s still community spread.
Tager said he credits the school department’s masking requirements, social distancing and other security measures for not having to switch to distance learning.
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The Downeast School is a primary school serving children in Bangor. Principal Sarah Vickers told NEWS CENTER MAINE that of her 375 students, only one has tested positive for COVID so far.
“We space the kids out in the cafeteria, we have seating plans to track if there is close contact,” Vickers said. “So all of these pieces really make a difference in keeping kids in school.”
Tager said communication between schools and parents has played and will play an important role this year.
“We immediately inform families, in this school in particular, if their students are in close contact,” he added.
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At the Mary Snow School in Bangor, Principal Dan Chadbourne said parents informed the school when their children had been in close contact with COVID-19.
“We have parents who really engage us and tell us these things have happened so that we can prepare, which hopefully eliminates or decreases the possibility for children to possibly contact. [COVID] here at school, ”Chadbourne said.
A spokesperson for the Bangor School Department told NEWS CENTER MAINE that he hopes to start pool testing early next month. They are waiting for supplies and are looking for additional staff to perform the tests.