CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — This week marks one year of COVID-19 in Maine, so we're looking back on what this year has been like for Mainers in all walks of life. This includes students and educators like the folks at Cape Elizabeth Middle School.
Cape Elizabeth Middle School was the first school in the state to have a presumptive positive case of COVID-19.
School nurse Jill Young said at the time it was scary and stressful but now it's a celebration of all the things schools have been able to accomplish this year.
"I think now that we're standing here in March... what an accomplishment," she said, standing in the same spot she spoke to members of the media after the announcement of a student testing positive.
She said that accomplishment is being able to keep the doors to Cape Elizabeth Middle School open to students since September using the district's hybrid model. Young added she and the Cape Elizabeth school staff have been working around the clock to find the best way to have kids in school.
"We're constantly looking at ways where we can provide the best possible access to education," she said.
Young said that schools are safe for kids, as long as the proper safety guidelines are in place like masking and social distancing. Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah has said the same thing multiple times this year.
"Although we do open a number of investigations with 3, 4, 7, 8 cases [in schools], because of the impressive work that educators, staff members, parents and students themselves have done within schools, the rate of transmission of COVID-19 in schools is thankfully something that has not gotten out of control," Shah said in a December press conference.
"I would be lying to say it's not a challenge but our team has stepped up to the plate," Young said.
She added Cape Elizabeth has only had a handful of COVID-19 cases at the middle school this year, which she said proves just how well masks and social distancing work.