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Cumberland County Schools return to green

From Maine DOE

AUGUSTA — The Mills Administration last week released an update to its color-coded Health Advisory System that classifies counties’ relative risk of COVID-19 transmission to assist schools as they continue with their plans to deliver instruction and support to students safely.

The Maine Department of Education announced that Cumberland County has returned to a “green” designation, meaning that extra-curricular activities may resume under proper social distancing guidelines.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) continue to review evidence that indicates lower transmission of COVID-19 in schools compared to the general population. Over the last 30 days, the rate of new cases is 34 per 10,000 staff and students, compared to 116 per 10,000 people statewide. This rate of new cases in schools is less than 30% of the statewide rate for the general population.

DHHS and Maine CDC assessed COVID-19 data and trends for all counties and released the following designations:

REMAIN YELLOW: Androscoggin, Oxford, and York counties continue to exceed the statewide averages for both 14-day new case rates per 10,000 people and positivity rates.

NOW YELLOW:  Franklin County has seen a significant increase in both the 14-day new case rate per 10,000 people and the positivity rate, which is now the highest of all counties in the state.

NOW GREEN:  Cumberland County’s new case rate per 10,000 people has dropped by 25%, and the positivity rate is now below the statewide average.

All other counties remain in the green designation.

Under the “yellow” designation, which indicates an increased (moderate) level of community risk, schools may consider additional precautions, such as limiting numbers of people in school buildings at the same time, suspending extracurricular or co-curricular activities including competitions between schools, limiting interaction through cohorting, or other measures based on the unique needs of each school community.

These designations are made out of an abundance of caution and for the consideration of school administrative units in their decisions to deliver instruction.

It is essential that school districts across the State of Maine continue to implement plans that adhere to the six requirements for returning to in-person instruction, regardless of their county’s designation.

The Health Advisory System reflects ongoing analysis of evolving data, and serves as one piece of information that school and district leaders can use to make decisions about how to deliver education during the school year.
The Health Advisory System can be found on the Maine DOE website in Part I of the Framework for Reopening Schools and Returning to In-Person Classroom Instruction at http://bitly.ws/bymQ

The next update will be provided on Feb. 12.

Updating this advisory on a two-week basis aligns with the incubation period for COVID-19 and allows for greater stability in the trend data for small counties.

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