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Sanford School Department releases updated back to school model; teacher tests positive for COVID-19

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

SANFORD, Maine — Sanford is the latest town to alter it's back to school plans. This comes after a teacher in 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 what school the teacher works at.

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

That's what will be happening in Sanford. Originally, elementary school students in kindergarten through fourth grade were slated to return in-person. Now they'll be split into two groups as part of the hybrid model.

Students in group A will have in-person learning on Mondays and Thursdays, while students in group B will be returning for in-person classes on Tuesdays and Fridays. No in-person learning will take place on Wednesdays. 

"At the end of the day as bad as we want to reopen schools, we want to make sure we are doing it safely," said Nelson.” 

The district already adjusted the start date of school for students in high school and middle school. School will now begin for all students on September 14. 

"This information, combined with recent events in Sanford, have me concerned about an increased level of community risk," said Sanford School Department Superintendent Matt Nelson in a letter to families last week. "I realize the timing of this decision is not ideal. I also recognize the hardship it places on families but I believe it is the best decision under the circumstances."

Schools in York County had previously been placed under the "green" designation for school reopening, meaning the state allows schools to reopen for in-person learning. Last week, the state shifted York County to "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.