Sanford School Department Releases Updated Back-to-School Model; Teacher tested positive for COVID-19

The district changed its model to become a hybrid for all students after York County was placed under the yellow reopening designation

SANFORD, Maine – Sanford is the latest city to change back-to-school plans. It comes after a teacher at the Sanford School Department tested positive for COVID-19, according to Superintendent Matt Nelson.

According to Nelson, the teacher who tested positive is asymptomatic. He did not say which school the teacher works at.

York County has also been placed under the yellow designation by the state for reopening schools, meaning the state recommends reopening all schools on a hybrid model.

That’s what’s going to happen in Sanford. Originally, elementary students from Kindergarten to Grade 4 were required to return in person. Now they will be divided into two groups under the hybrid model.

Students in Group A will have in-person learning on Mondays and Thursdays, while students in Group B will return for in-person lessons on Tuesdays and Fridays. No in-person learning will take place on Wednesdays.

“At the end of the day, even if we want to reopen the schools, we want to make sure we do it safely,” Nelson said.

The district has already adjusted the school start date for high school and college students. School will now start for all students on September 14th.

“This information, combined with recent events in Sanford, worries me about an increased level of risk to the community,” Sanford School Department principal Matt Nelson said in a letter to families last week. “I realize that the timing of this decision is not ideal. I also recognize the hardships it places on families, but I think it is the best decision under the circumstances.”

York County schools had previously been placed under the “green” designation for the reopening of schools, meaning the state is allowing schools to reopen for in-person learning. Last week, the state turned York County “yellow” citing increased transmission of COVID-19. The Maine CDC has reported outbreaks at the Calvary Baptist Church as well as the Sanford Fire Department.

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