SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — South Portland High School will move to full distance learning Dec. 17 through Dec. 22 due to the impact positive COVID-19 cases has had on staff availability, Superintendent Ken Kunin said Tuesday.
In a letter written to South Portland schools staff, students, and families, Kunin announced three positive COVID-19 tests among individuals associated with South Portland High School and Kaler Elementary School.
Kunin said the three cases—two at the high school and one at the elementary school—are unrelated to one another and due to the timing of the cases, there are no close contacts at either of the schools.
However, Kunin says due to a combination of factors impacting staffing at the high school, high school students will move fully remote leading up to the December break.
Students can return to South Portland High School with their assigned cohort on either Jan. 4 (cohort A) or Jan. 5 (cohort B).
No other South Portland schools are similarly impacted at this time, Kunin said.
NEWS CENTER Maine's Hannah Dineen recently reported that schools across the state are being forced to close due to staffing shortages brought on by positive COVID-19 cases.
A spokesperson for the Maine Department of Education (DOE) said, “Unfortunately we are hearing that as the COVID-19 cases are rising across our state, our schools are being increasingly impacted. This includes an increase in the number of staff who need to quarantine, exacerbating already strained staffing needs."
"Further staffing may require additional funding, and some districts have used CRF funds to cover these costs, however, this will only be an option until December 30," the Maine DOE continued to say.