BAR HARBOR — The Conners Emerson School closed its doors Friday and again on Monday due to COVID-19 cases. AOS 91 Superintendent Marc Gousse said the school closed in an effort to mitigate additional cases.
On Thursday, Oct. 28, the Bar Harbor school identified two additional cases of COVID-19 in the Conners building. Following recommendations from the Center of Disease Control that afternoon, the school’s administration decided to close down for a couple of days to deep clean and sanitize the two buildings. Conners Emerson School was emptied of all staff at noon on Friday.
“Since Oct. 18, we’ve had four school staff members and seven students test positive [for COVID-19],” said Assistant Principal Heather Webster at a Nov. 1 school committee meeting.
Two staff members tested positive with unrelated cases, while the rest of the positive tests stemmed from one classroom in the elementary school building.
“It started with somebody not feeling well, took a day off, tested in Ellsworth the next day because they still weren’t feeling well and got the positive result from there,” Webster said, adding that the administration notified close contacts to have them get tested.
After a slow return of results, more students tested positive. The school found within the 5- to 7-day window, they were seeing positive cases in other students who were exposed to the initial cases in the Conners building. “This was our first case where people had contracted COVID-19 from our school. Every other case we had this year prior to this and last year were all community based,” Webster said.
Students who were deemed close contacts with those who tested positive were advised to quarantine. Quarantined students went home with learning bags.
Last week, the school pool tested over 300 students and staff and plans to test more when they return Nov. 2.
“We understand that this will be a hardship for families,” Webster said.
Due to being out of school for only two days and because of the short notice of the closure for families and staff, Friday and Monday were not remote learning days.