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Two schools in Harpswell, Topsham close Tuesday due to student illness

The Harpswell Community School and Mt. Ararat Middle School will reopen on Wednesday, according to a community message.

MAINE, USA — Two schools in MSAD 75 were closed on Tuesday due to high rates of student illness. 

The Harpswell Community School and Mt. Ararat Middle School in Topsham will be closed on Tuesday, according to a community message from Steven Connolly, MSAD 75 superintendent of schools.

Connolly said the most common symptoms are respiratory congestion. 

Connolly added that when 15 percent of a school population is sick with the same symptoms, the school has to close. He went on to say at the Harpswell Community School, about 35 percent of the school population is out sick, forcing the district to give both schools a deep clean on Tuesday.

Cold and flu season is here, and Maine Center for Disease Control director Dr. Nirav Shah said coming out of the pandemic there are a lot of kids who have never been exposed to some respiratory infections like RSV.

"We've had two years, two cohorts of kids who probably would have been exposed to RSV who haven't been yet. When you combine that with a little bit of immunity that is waning, you have a lot more kids and adults who are susceptible to RSV," Shah said.

NEWS CENTER Maine spoke with Shah two days before Thanksgiving. He said that it wouldn't be surprising if there was an increase in illnesses after the holiday.

While Thanksgiving gatherings are not directly linked to getting sick, it could be why so many students at MSAD 75 are out sick this week.

"This is the new whatever it is. It's the post-pandemic what is this world that we're dealing with," Connolly said.

Both schools will reopen on Wednesday, the message stated. 

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