November 30, 2020
This notice is to inform you that there have been three or more confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) at Bangor High School within the last two weeks. According to the CDC, three or more confirmed cases within a 14-day period is then defined as an outbreak. This is a scary term, but it is just a way of identifying numbers of cases within a time frame. These are not new cases, as I have provided you with information every time a confirmed case has been identified. It is my opinion that regular communication is better than communication provided only after an outbreak has been identified. Please also know that all close contacts have been contacted with instructions to quarantine. Additionally, the procedures we have in place have been approved by the CDC. The BSD has been complimented by the CDC regarding our handling of confirmed cases and close contacts – thanks to the work of our nurses, BHS office staff, and administrators.
To minimize the spread of the virus, please monitor yourself/your child for signs and symptoms. Call a health care provider if symptoms start. It is important that you call a health care facility before you show up in person. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that ranges from mild to severe. It can be more severe in adults 60 years and older and in those with underlying conditions. The virus mainly spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and an uninfected person breathes in the virus. Signs and symptoms include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Please keep in mind that many things can cause respiratory illness, so everyone should be up-to-date on influenza and routine vaccinations. Any time there is a confirmed case, someone from the Maine CDC or a school representative will contact you directly if you are identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive. Close contacts will be asked to quarantine for 14 days from last exposure to the positive individual. A negative test result does not get an individual out of quarantine. Maine CDC recommends prevention measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures include proper handwashing with soap and warm water, which is especially important after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. When soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands and avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Call Bangor High School if you have any questions. For general COVID-19 questions, dial 211 (or 1-866-811-5695). You can also text your ZIP code to 898-211 or email email@example.com. Call a health care provider for questions about your symptoms. More information can be found at www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
Kathy Harris-Smedberg, Ph.D.
Interim Superintendent Bangor School Department